Today, it’s a new book review and this time, it’s all about Eimear McBride’s new novel, Strange Hotel.
This is my first time reading anything from McBride and I thought this book would be a perfect read for me but… firstly, here’s the synopsis:
At the mid-point of her life a woman enters an Avignon hotel room. She’s been here once before – but while the room hasn’t changed, she is a different person now.
Forever caught between check-in and check-out, she will go on to occupy other hotel rooms, from Prague to Oslo, Auckland to Austin, each as anonymous as the last, but bound by rules of her choosing. There, amid the detritus of her travels, the matchbooks, cigarettes, keys and room-service wine, she will negotiate with memory, with the men she sometimes meets, and with what it might mean to return home.
I really wanted to like this book. I loved the title, the blurb hooked me and the cover intrigued me. I guess this is an ‘experimental’ novel as we are in the thoughts of this woman as she shifts from hotel room to hotel room. I think it’s an interesting concept and premise but it just didn’t hit the mark for me.
While there were some nice moments of prose, I just found myself bored by it all. It didn’t hook me, it didn’t make me invested in this character. If it wasn’t such a short book, I would not have finished it. For me, it was too dense and it felt too much and that she was trying too hard to break away from the mould of the “traditional” novel.
For me, if I was to recommend this book, I think it would work better in audiobook form as it just didn’t work for me on the page but I think it’s one of those books that is best read out loud and McBride does the audiobook herself.
I found the themes and premise of it to be enticing but just didn’t work for me, sadly. I won’t be surprised to see it up for the best book prizes because of it’s form but for me, that’s the only thing I can see it to be up for the prizes. I think this will be a book for some people and not for others but for me, sadly missed the mark.
Have you read Strange Hotel? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!