From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a 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.
By some miracle, although it’s hard to determine what it’s about, The Glass Hotel is never dull. Tracing the permutations of its characters’ lives 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, not in anything they mean. This is a type of art that closely approximates life, and a remarkable accomplishment for Mandel, whose prose style in this novel is more transparent and less deliberately fussy and 'literary' than in Station Eleven. This novel invites you to inhabit it without striving or urging; it’s a place to be, always fiction’s most welcome effect.
... the world of money...materializes in Ms. Mandel’s new novel, The Glass Hotel, as both familiar and profoundly strange ... 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—of a shoreline at dusk, for example, or a city street at dawn—suspend us in a kind of hallucinatory present where every detail is sharply defined yet queasily unreliable ... All of which is clever and, perhaps intentionally, alienating. For in this hall-of-mirrors novel, Ms. Mandel invites us to observe her characters from a distance even as we enter their lives, a feat she achieves with remarkable skill. And if the result is a sense not only of detachment but also of desolation, then maybe that’s the point.
... a novel that's so absorbing, so fully realized that it draws you out of your own constricted situation and expands your sense of possibilities. For me, over the past 10 days or so, the novel that's performed that act of deliverance has been The Glass Hotel ... gorgeous and haunting ... This all-encompassing awareness of the mutability of life grows more pronounced as The Glass Hotel reaches its eerie sea change of an ending. In dramatizing so ingeniously how precarious and changeable everything is, Mandel's novel is topical in a way she couldn't have foreseen when she was writing it.