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The Weeping Women Hotel Hardcover – 27 Feb 2006

15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre; 1st edition (2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340831219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340831212
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 22.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 688,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Liverpool, the only child of Communist parents, Alexei moved to London in 1971 to attend Chelsea Art School. He became the first MC of the Comedy Store and later the Comic Strip. After years of stand-up, television, sitcoms, films and even a hit single, he published his first highly acclaimed collection of short stories. BARCELONA PLATES was followed by THE DOG CATCHER, two novels: OVERTAKEN and THE WEEPING WOMEN HOTEL and a novella, MISTER ROBERTS. STALIN ATE MY HOMEWORK is his first work of non-fiction.

Product Description

Review

Sayle proves once again that he is no literary dilettante but the real thing (Daily Express)

'Alexei Sayle excels. The Weeping Women Hotel is an enjoyable page-turner with a curious plot. If you like your weirdness with warmth and wit, Sayle's your man.' (Metro)

A brilliant writer ... a great novelist (Richard and Judy)

He just seems to keep getting better and better - more supple, more confident and more violent. This is a funny, frightening book which is also refreshingly bonkers. (Guardian)

'Sayle's energy has been boiling over in collections of short stories and novels of immense literary sophistication - books that are also bed-wettingly funny.With his high-spirited loathing of pretension, he could be our new Kingsley Amis.' (Roger Lewis, Sunday Express )

'This is a novel composed of surreal flights of fancy and spot-on comedy.' (Katy Guest, Independent)

Book Description

The latest novel from highly acclaimed writer Alexei Sayle - bleak, hilarious and completely unique

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mike J. Wheeler on 11 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback
I don't understand why Alxei Sayle is not more celebrated as a writer. His books are accessible, fun, witty and well-written. He is easily the equal of many more feted authors (Nick Hornby, Tony Parsons and John O' Farrell spring to mind) and yet his work seems to get little recognition. Perhaps he is still equated in the minds of many as the short, fat anarchic comedian that he was in the 80s? If this is the reason, that's a shame! Alexei Sayle is genuinely talented and I hope he continues to grow as a writer.

"Weeping Women Hotel" is written mostly from the points of view of two sisters. When I started reading this I found it difficult to believe that Sayle could pull off getting into the mind of a woman, but he managed it successfully as far as I'm concerned (but then what would I know as a man!). It would be interesting to find out the views of women readers of the book on this! The characterisation of the women, Harriet (fat and unattractive) and her sister Helen (successful and good-looking) is excellent throughout. they are both thoroughly believable characters even though at times Sayle tends to describe things in a whimsical manner and the names and personalities of a few of the minor characters are less believable.

The plot concerns the introduction of Harriet to a bizarre martial arts cult and her subsequent development. A side plot involves Helen and her semi-imaginary friend, an Argentinian puppeteer. The plots intertwine nicely and by the end are building to what seems like a frightening conclusion. However, the book stops rather suddenly. I was left looking for a missing chapter. hence, 4 stars rather than 5 for what is otherwise a very enjoyable book.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Feb. 2006
Format: Hardcover
Alexei Sayle's short stories were a revelation, so nearly immaculate it made you wonder how he did it. His first novel Overtaken had a brilliant structure, with stories on many levels, but it was patchy in its storytelling, whereas The Weeping Women Hotel is complex yet transparent and accessible. Sayle's depiction of the main character, Harriet, and the people around her is spot on. I'm a woman of nearly the same age as Harriet and at times it seemed almost impossible to imagine that her story was written by a middle-aged man, it feels so accurate and real. There are all the unexpected twists and turns that mark an Alexei Sayle story, and the jokes, and all the interesting and weird stuff, but more than that, I found it clever, profound and deeply moving. Probably a good read for men as well, but certainly a great gift to buy for a girlfriend.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 10 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
Alexei Sayle can write a very funny sentence and has wit and style. Though he was acclaimed by Richard and Judy to be "a brilliant writer" and "a great novelist," I have to say this goes too far. He's not a great novelist, but he is a very funny writer.

This book has an ambitious sub-text, and it is about women who struggle to make sense of a hostile world. The novel opens with battered, bruised, Harriet checking into a hotel somewhere near Crewe where she will stay until her money runs out, then take a menial job at the hotel for room and board. The novel then proceeds to tell the story of how she got there. It is not exactly what one might guess from Harriet's physical condition.

The novel takes on conventional standards of beauty, the soullessness of modern culture and community, the failure of spiritual beliefs to provide solace, and in general copes as well as any novel can with such a disparate and wide-ranging, not to say unfocused, range of subjects. Alexei Sayle writes well from a woman's viewpoint and the novel is engaging and amusing, as well as attempting some serious under-the-surface commentary. Much of it verges on the surreal, however, and it is this that some readers may find distracting. This is a pity because, viewed in its entirety, it is a highly original and entertaining book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By NB on 31 Mar. 2007
Format: Hardcover
I picked this up due to the cover (font and style) and then saw it was by Alexi Sayle, who I only know through 'The Young Ones', so was interested to see what on earth this would be like.

And, it was pretty good. It starts off with a battered woman coming to a hotel, then taking you back to a year ago, where we find out how she came to get there, along with a sneery look at the way people live today (in a modern London suburb).

Although the ending wasn't as dramatic as it could be, it was a very good read, and one that made me laugh aloud at points, which is what you'd expect from someone like Alexi Sayle.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. P. Hiscock on 27 April 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alexei is a delightful writer, his work exudes all the characteristics one might expect from his television work, and more besides.

This book, whilst delivering some fabulous characterisation, never quite seems to achieve what it promises. The end in particular doesn't really draw on the growing sense of tension as the unexpected common thread between the characters is unveiled.

Perhaps, as a naturalised southerner, the story was just too subtle for me, as another reviewer suggests?

One more thing, as a resident of Crewe I think I can confirm that the town doesn't have a single hotel that quite measures up to this description!

A thoroughly enjoyable read, but one that left me feeling that I had missed something!
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