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Hotel World Paperback – 29 Mar 2001

3.7 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Hamish Hamilton; 1st Penguin Edition edition (29 Mar. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241141095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241141090
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.8 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,525,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Five disparate voices inhabit Ali Smith's dreamlike, mesmerising Hotel World, set in the luxurious anonymity of the Global Hotel, in an unnamed northern English city. The disembodied yet interconnected characters include Sara, a 19-year-old chambermaid who has recently died at the hotel; her bereaved sister, Clare, who visits the scene of Sara's death; Penny, an advertising copywriter who is staying in the room opposite; Lise, the Global's depressed receptionist; and the homeless Else who begs on the street outside. Smith's ambitious prose explores all facets of language and its uses. Sara takes us through the moment of her exit from the world and beyond; in her desperate, fading grip on words and senses she gropes to impart the meaning of her death in what she terms "the lift for dishes"--then comes a flash of clarity: "That's the name for it, the name for it; that's it; dumb waiter dumb waiter dumb waiter." Blended with hers are other voices: Penny's bland journalese and Else's obsession with metaphysical poetry.

Hotel World is not an easy read: disturbing and witty by turns, with its stream-of-consciousness narrators reminiscent of Virgina Woolf's The Waves, its deceptively rambling language is underpinned by a formal construction. Exploring the "big themes" of love, death and millennial capitalism, it takes as its starting point Muriel Spark's Momento Mori ("Remember you must die") and counteracts this axiom with a resolute "Remember you must live". Ali Smith's novel is a daring, compelling, and frankly spooky read. --Catherine Taylor

Review

"Ali Smith has got style, ideas, and punch. Read her."-Jeanette Winterson "Hotel World is everything a novel should be: disturbing, comforting, funny, challenging, sad, rude, beautiful.--The Independent (London) "In this voice from beyond the grave Ali Smith has created the perfect literary ghost...imbued with a powerful sense of wonder at the minutiae of everyday sensuality...and her beautiful, vivid descriptions are reinforced by a sharp, unsentimental tongue."-The Times (London) "Ali Smith's remarkable novel HOTEL WORLD....is a greatly appealing read. Smith is a gifted and meticulous architect of character and voice."--The Washington Post "The heart of Scottish writer Ali Smith may belong to good old-fashioned metaphysics -- to truth and beauty and love beyond the grave -- but her stylistic sensibility owes its punch to the Modernists. She's street-savy and poignant at once, with a brutal sense of irony and a wonderful feel for literary economy. There's a kind of stainless-steel clarity at the center of her fiction. . ."--The Boston Globe "HOTEL WORLD is that rare experiment, a novel with style to spare . . . despite all the tricks, all the tweaks of language and literature, what you remember about HOTEL WORLD is Smith's evocation of the anguish that results when a life ends, her rendering of the sadness at separating from the living world and the loneliness of staying behind. What a death. What a life. What a book."--San Antonio Express-News ." . . in Smith's hands, this slender plot serves as an excuse for a delightfully inventive, exuberant, fierce novel of which the real star is not the dead Sara, or any of the living characters, but the author's vivid, fluent, highly readable prose. HOTEL WORLD was a well-deserved finalist last year for two prestigious British prizes: the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize. . . . I can't begin to paraphrase all that this dazzling book conveys about humanity and mortality . . ." - Margot Livesey, Newsday "Ali who? Hotel what? Even for people who follow contemporary British literature, neither the name nor the title meant a lot. They do now. HOTEL WORLD makes a striking impression. It's a challenging, often bleak but affecting journey through the lives of four young women united by the death of another . . . What an introduction to Ali Smith. - Minneapolis Star Tribune "HOTEL WORLD is that rare experiment, a novel with style to spare . . . despite all the tricks, all the tweaks of language and literature, what you remember about HOTEL WORLD is Smith's evocation of the anguish that results when a life ends, her rendering of the sadness at separating from the living world and the loneliness of staying behind. What a death. What a life. What a book." -Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel "HOTEL WORLD is compelling . . . precisely because it suggests shifting yet coherent perspectives rather than simplifying lives into rigid, inert realities. Most impressively, Smith has mastered sophisticated literary techniques, which never intrude or bog down a delectable narrative of human perception and rumination. Apart from establishing Ali Smith as a novelist with the skills of a Martin Amis and Samuel Beckett combined, HOTEL WORLD is a damn good read." -The San Francisco Chronicle "Wonderfully inventive and boldly lyrical, HOTEL WORLD is an exhilarating read. A chambermaid careens to her death in a broken dumbwaiter, and her dissipating spirit sings a paean to earthly existence. . . . Newly published in the U.S., Ali Smith's thrilling meditation on life, transience, class, and the material world was an Orange Prize finalist and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize." -INSIDE BORDERS "Courageous and startling. I doubt that I shall read a tougher or more affecting novel this year." -Jim Crace Ali Smith has got style, ideas, and punch. Read her. Jeanette Winterson Hotel World is everything a novel should be: disturbing, comforting, funny, challenging, sad, rude, beautiful. The Independent (London) In this voice from beyond the grave Ali Smith has created the perfect literary ghost imbued with a powerful sense of wonder at the minutiae of everyday sensuality and her beautiful, vivid descriptions are reinforced by a sharp, unsentimental tongue. The Times (London) "Ali Smith's remarkable novel HOTEL WORLD....is a greatly appealing read. Smith is a gifted and meticulous architect of character and voice." The Washington Post "The heart of Scottish writer Ali Smith may belong to good old-fashioned metaphysics -- to truth and beauty and love beyond the grave -- but her stylistic sensibility owes its punch to the Modernists. She's street-savy and poignant at once, with a brutal sense of irony and a wonderful feel for literary economy. There's a kind of stainless-steel clarity at the center of her fiction. . ." The Boston Globe "HOTEL WORLD is that rare experiment, a novel with style to spare . . . despite all the tricks, all the tweaks of language and literature, what you remember about HOTEL WORLD is Smith's evocation of the anguish that results when a life ends, her rendering of the sadness at separating from the living world and the loneliness of staying behind. What a death. What a life. What a book."--San Antonio Express-News ." . . in Smith's hands, this slender plot serves as an excuse for a delightfully inventive, exuberant, fierce novel of which the real star is not the dead Sara, or any of the living characters, but the author's vivid, fluent, highly readable prose. HOTEL WORLD was a well-deserved finalist last year for two prestigious British prizes: the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize. . . . I can't begin to paraphrase all that this dazzling book conveys about humanity and mortality . . ." Margot Livesey, Newsday "Ali who? Hotel what? Even for people who follow contemporary British literature, neither the name nor the title meant a lot. They do now. HOTEL WORLD makes a striking impression. It's a challenging, often bleak but affecting journey through the lives of four young women united by the death of another . . . What an introduction to Ali Smith. Minneapolis Star Tribune "HOTEL WORLD is that rare experiment, a novel with style to spare . . . despite all the tricks, all the tweaks of language and literature, what you remember about HOTEL WORLD is Smith's evocation of the anguish that results when a life ends, her rendering of the sadness at separating from the living world and the loneliness of staying behind. What a death. What a life. What a book." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel "HOTEL WORLD is compelling . . . precisely because it suggests shifting yet coherent perspectives rather than simplifying lives into rigid, inert realities. Most impressively, Smith has mastered sophisticated literary techniques, which never intrude or bog down a delectable narrative of human perception and rumination. Apart from establishing Ali Smith as a novelist with the skills of a Martin Amis and Samuel Beckett combined, HOTEL WORLD is a damn good read." The San Francisco Chronicle "Wonderfully inventive and boldly lyrical, HOTEL WORLD is an exhilarating read. A chambermaid careens to her death in a broken dumbwaiter, and her dissipating spirit sings a paean to earthly existence. . . . Newly published in the U.S., Ali Smith's thrilling meditation on life, transience, class, and the material world was an Orange Prize finalist and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize." INSIDE BORDERS Courageous and startling. I doubt that I shall read a tougher or more affecting novel this year. Jim Crace" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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