The Glass Hotel

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Her Station Eleven is everywhere but the pandemic setting was too on the nose so I decided to read her new book.

1) “‘Our guests in Caiette want to come to the wilderness, but they don’t want to be in the wilderness. They just want to look at it, ideally through the window of a luxury hotel.'” – Raphael

I’m guilty.

2) “‘You can tune in to the conversation at the next table, or you can let that become background noise.'” – Clarissa

But once you tune in to the conversation, it’s really hard to tune it out again.

3) “‘You know what I’ve learned about money? I was trying to figure out why my life felt more or less the same in Singapore as it did in London, and that’s when I realized that money is its own country.'” – Mirella

This explains why all the nice places look the same.

4) “Since her late teens she had been mentally dividing people into categories: either you’re a serious person, she’d long ago decided, or you’re not.”

Seriousness is not an important feature.

5) “And then there’s the part of the equation that could somehow never be mentioned at trial but that seemed extremely relevant, which is that when you’ve worked with a given group of people for a while, calling the authorities means destroying the lives of your friends.”

Typing this out made me realize why I couldn’t get into the book at all. The writing is too distracting.

6) “But up here on this higher level were people who worked in utter innocence, people whose idea of a transgression was charging dinner with friends to the corporate Amex, and he felt such longing to be one of them.”

Expensing dinner is honestly one of the most thrilling parts of a job.

7) “One of our signature flaws as a species: we will risk almost anything to avoid looking stupid.”

It’s not so much looking stupid as looking weak.

8) “(A difference between life with Suzanne and life with Vincent, one of many: he told Suzanne everything.)”

I couldn’t stand the unnecessary, excessive use of parentheses in this book.

9) “It wasn’t a big town but there were somehow two Marriotts, reflecting one another across the wide street and the parking lot.”

Residence Inn. IHOP. Gas station. The bedrock of America.

10) “‘When was the last time you Googled someone you trusted?'” – Saparelli

Do I trust myself?

I expected this book to be horror mystery. There were some early signs that the story would be a suspenseful thriller, but somehow it shifted to the financial crisis, and the plot completely lost steam. With such a promising setting as the eerie hotel, I don’t know why the author abandoned it and took the story to bland New York. None of the characters are likable, and the book introduces too many of them. And then there’s the wordy prose with questionable parentheses. All in all, this was the most disappointing book I’ve read in a long time.

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