SHORTLISTED FOR THE SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE
A Time Magazine Must Read Book of 2020
A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year
#1 national bestseller
New York Times bestseller
From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it.
Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass-and-cedar palace on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. New York financier Jonathan Alkaitis owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, a hooded figure scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later, Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship.
Weaving together the lives of these characters, The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the wilderness of remote British Columbia, painting a breathtaking picture of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts.
“Gracefully written and suspenseful. . . . Its evocation of the collapse of our civilization is powerful.”
“Beguiling. . . . With its shattered narrative, the joys of The Glass Hotel are participatory: piecing together the connections and intersections of Mandel’s human cartography, a treasure map ripped to pieces.”
“A novel that carries a magnificent depth. . . . It’s a sweeping look at where we are, how we got here and where we might go. While her previous novels are cracking good reads, this is her best yet.”
The Glass Hotel will haunt you… Mandel delicately illuminates the devastation wreaked on the fraud’s victims while brilliantly teasing out the hairsbreadth moments in which a person can seamlessly slide into moral corruption… The Glass Hotel isn’t so much plot driven as it is coiled—a taut braid of lives undone by Alkaitis’ and others’ grifts… negotiating slippery ethics and questionable compromises, and the liminal space between innocence and treachery.
Deeply imagined, philosophically profound… The Glass Hotel moves forward propulsively, its characters continually on the run… Richly satisfying… The Glass Hotel is ultimately as immersive a reading experience as its predecessor [Station Eleven], finding all the necessary imaginative depth within the more realistic confines of its world… Revolutionary.
The Glass Hotel… totally sticks the landing… Mandel’s prose is such a pleasure to read… [I] gave way to real delight in the skill with which Mandel brings together themes that have occupied previous sections of the novel, revisiting earlier characters and incidents from surprising new perspectives in a narrative sleight of hand that recalls what M. Night Shyamalan does in movies such as Unbreakable. Mandel’s conclusion is dazzling.
“Simply stunning, a boldly experimental work which hooks the reader from its first pages, wending to a powerfully emotional conclusion. . . . The Glass Hotel becomes stronger, and more powerful, with every page. . . . a compulsive read.”
An eerie, compelling follow-up... not your grandmother’s Agatha Christie murder mystery or haunted hotel ghost story... The novel’s ongoing sense of haunting extends well beyond its ghosts... The ghosts in The Glass Hotel are directly connected to its secrets and scandals, which mirror those of our time... Like all Mandel’s novels, The Glass Hotel is flawlessly constructed... The Glass Hotel declares the world to be as bleak as it is beautiful, just like this novel.
Named best book of the year by Entertainment Weekly and BookPage
Chosen as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post, TIME Magazine, and TimeOut New York Named one of the best books of the year by The Globe and Mail, Kirkus Reviews, The Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, O Magazine
Winner of the Toronto Book Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award Finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the Sunburst Award
Longlisted for the Baileys Prize and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
A striking book that's every bit as powerful — and timely — as its predecessor…Mandel's writing shines throughout the book, just as it did in Station Eleven. She's not a showy writer, but an unerringly graceful one, and she treats her characters with compassion but not pity. The Glass Hotel is a masterpiece, just as good — if not better — than its predecessor. It's a stunning look at how people react to disasters, both small and large, and the temptation that some have to give up when faced with tragedy.
The Glass Hotel may be the perfect novel for your survival bunker... Freshly mysterious... Mandel is a consummate, almost profligate world builder. One superbly developed setting gives way to the next, as her attention winds from character to character, resting long enough to explore the peculiar mechanics of each life before slipping over to the next... That Mandel manages to cover so much, so deeply is the abiding mystery of this book...The complex, troubled people who inhabit Mandel’s novel are vexed and haunted by their failings, driven to create ever more pleasant reflections of themselves in the glass.
Emily St. John Mandel has a knack for explosive openings… Mandel is constructing a sort of multiverse that demonstrates the power of fiction to imagine simultaneous realities.
A wondrously entertaining novel… The Glass Hotel is never dull. Tracing the permutations of its characters’ lives, from depressing apartments in bad neighborhoods to posh Dubai resorts to Manhattan bars, Colorado campgrounds, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is like following the intricate patterns on Moroccan tiles. The pleasure, which in the case of The Glass Hotel is abundant, lies in the patterns themselves… This is a type of art that closely approximates life, and a remarkable accomplishment for Mandel… This novel invites you to inhabit it without striving or urging; it’s a place to be, always fiction’s most welcome effect.
An ephemeral quality permeates the novel… It’s a thrill when the puzzle pieces start to fit together… The final chapter is haunting, taking readers full circle… It’s a sense readers will enjoy as well when they lose themselves in Mandel’s novel.
A careful, damning study of the forms of disaster humanity brings down on itself... In a world where rolling disasters fade into one another, it’s a reminder that Mandel wants to lurch us out of the tedium.
“The Glass Hotel shines in its probing of themes – guilt, loss and theft.”
Absorbing, finely wrought... Mandel paints an intricately plotted, haunting portrait of heartbreak, abandonment, betrayal, riches, corruption and reinvention in a contemporary world both strange and weirdly recognizable.
“A boldly lyrical tale. . . . The novel commands a broad array of characters and a plot of kaleidoscopic intricacy. . . .Mandel turns her gifted attention to the mirages of now, and to the truth that we are haunted, always, by the lives of others.”
Another tale of wanderers whose fates are interconnected... nail-biting tension... Mandel weaves an intricate spider web of a story... A gorgeously rendered tragedy.
Mandel... specializes in fiction that weaves together seemingly unrelated people, places and things. The Glass Hotel... is no exception... Kaleidoscopic... Mandel dissects the surreal division between those who are conscious of ongoing crimes, and those who are unwittingly brought into them... The Glass Hotel... examine[s] how we respond to chaos after catastrophe.
Mandel’s wonderful novel (after Station Eleven) follows a brother and sister as they navigate heartache, loneliness, wealth, corruption, drugs, ghosts, and guilt... This ingenious, enthralling novel probes the tenuous yet unbreakable bonds between people and the lasting effects of momentary carelessness.
Long-anticipated... At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical... In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure. A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.
“It’s hard to imagine a novel more perfectly suited, in both form and content, to this literary moment.”
“Station Eleven is so compelling, so fearlessly imagined, that I wouldn’t have put it down for anything.”
The question of what is real—be it love, money, place or memory—has always been at the heart of Ms. Mandel’s fiction... Her narratives snake their way across treacherous, shifting terrain. Certainties are blurred, truth becomes malleable and in The Glass Hotel the con man thrives... Lyrical, hypnotic images... suspend us in a kind of hallucinatory present where every detail is sharply defined yet queasily unreliable. A sense of unease thickens... Ms. Mandel invites us to observe her characters from a distance even as we enter their lives, a feat she achieves with remarkable skill...
“Deeply melancholy, but beautifully written, and wonderfully elegiac. . . . A book that I will long remember, and return to.”