Friday, January 8, 2021

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel has a lot going on, a lot of different threads. There's a Ponzi scheme, ghosts, and moral dilemmas aplenty. It was a lot; at moments a little too much, but it somehow never quite went overboard for me.

Thanks to the dumpster fire that was 2020, my attention span for reading dimmed as the year wore on. I turned to short stories (and found many great ones), and still managed to get in several novels or full-length nonfiction books. But they seemed to take so long to get through! I didn't fly through this one at top speed, but I finished in less than two weeks, which was pretty damn good given my difficulty staying focused by the end of the year.

This book was riveting at times and slightly less so at others (I do not thrill to reading about how financial scams work, but thankfully the detail wasn't intense here). At the end I went on instinct, how I felt after reading the final words, and I landed on five stars. 

An odd thing about rating books for Goodreads, for me, is how that instinct can kick in, how that feeling I'm left with after I turn the last page can add or detract a star. Also, I suppose, on whether I decide to round up when I'd love to give a half star but the option isn't available. I just now looked back at the other book I'd read by this author, the exceptional Station Eleven, and saw I only gave it four stars at the time. When I reflect on how much I enjoyed that book, though, it is a slam-dunk five-star book. In fact, of the two, Station Eleven is the one I remember more fondly. That's the way of going with your gut in the moment, I guess.

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