Strange Hotel audiobook
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Strange Hotel audiobook free
“I am the last one standing in so many memories.”
About halfway through this novella I decided I needed a break. Like the main/only character I considered my options in terms of drink, cigarettes, sex, more booze, and more sex, (each with a big side of aimless, nameless regret). Anyway, instead, I decided my reading experience would be much improved, or at least better informed, by looking at various reviews of this book. I learned something useful, which I am happy to share with you.
There are two distinct audiences for this book. One is the group of people who have read McBride’s other books and adore them. The second group is comprised of entirely new readers. (I’m in that second group.) Those in the first group either loved or hated this book, but they all had strong reactions because they all had substantial backgrounds against which to measure “Strange Hotel”. Some readers teased out the connections between this vague novella and earlier books, (finding references to previous characters and the like), or even found connections with what they knew of McBride’s own life. Love it or hate it, they at least had some way to connect to this book and some perspective from which to view it. If you’re in that first group, well,have at it and good luck.
However, if you are in the second group, and are new to McBride, you face more of a challenge. Many people found the heroine’s musings pointless, self-indulgent, and tedious. Fair enough. After all, there is no plot, no action, no drama, and a barely there main character. (As I say, you are in group two, so you can’t port over knowledge from other McBride books.) For the remaining minority, it seems to me that the way to enjoy this book is to just enjoy it sentence by sentence as a writing, or an academic, exercise. There are many elegant, nicely phrased, ironic, cool, or devastatingly sardonic lines and bits of business. I fall into this category. I admired a lot of the writing and was taken by many apparently careless, but obviously intended, asides and throwaway musings. I was especially taken by the last paragraph, which in some sense confirmed what I suspected about what was going on.
So, lots of ways to react to this. You might want to take a page from the heroine’s playbook and treat the entire novella as the reading equivalent of a one night stand. It seemed like a good idea at the time, offered some moments of pleasure, but afterwards, upon sober reflection, felt rather empty and pointless. But we’ll always have Paris. And an MFA candidate could have fun writing an essay about use of the word “brown”.
(Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Strange Hotel audiobook streamming online
There are more cobbles down there than you could ever wish for, she thinks, no wonder defenestration was a thing. She has no doubt, if each could speak, their mouths will yawn fantastic with history. But, in truth, hers is a beggared interest. Missives from antiquity are not why she’s here and, if more rigorous motives yet remain unclear, she is at peace with that. She can be, and can choose to be, in any given place. Furthermore, she’s a grown woman and no body exists to which she must report back on every instant. Too much already of that though. Far too much, she thinks, her scorn rising at the redundant aegis of her instincts. All she really wants is the dark behind her eyes and perhaps for the rain to relent.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: 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.
MY THOUGHTS: At 20% I labelled this book strange.
In Oslo (45%), I decided to abandon this read, tired of the reiteration of her stream of consciousness, unable to make sense of, well, anything really. At this point she thinks, ‘For God’s sake, just get up and go.’ So I decided that I would, and would not be returning.
But I woke during the night and picked Strange Hotel up again, too lazy to wander down the other end of the house and find something else. And something changed. For the first time there was interest in her surroundings, outside her interchangeable hotel room. ‘…she can see to the fjord. To the promenade. To the opera house. To a damp sky behind, weakening into day.’
And we start to gather little snippets of information about her, though never her name. Her French is terrible, as a result of an unenthusiastic teacher and an endless confusion with both the tenses and the numbers. She describes herself as slightly agoraphobic, and yet she travels ceaselessly. She always requests a ground floor hotel room, not because she thinks she might jump, as she may well have been tempted when she was younger, but because she might fall. She is in her late forties, forty nine, in fact and grieving. Not for her youth. She considers her age ‘a hard-won victory over the excellent carnage of being young.’ She is grieving for the loss of her love. Husband? Lover? Partner? The father of their son who is not quite an adult yet. And on her endless travels, the purpose of which we never learn, she conducts her sex life rather like having dinner- sit down, eat, get up and leave.
But while in Prague, something happens, something that rocks her world a little…and as a result, she does something quite out of character.
So, what do I think of Strange Hotel? In all honesty, I don’t know. I hated parts of it, I loved others. It bewildered me, it bewitched me.
THE AUTHOR: Eimear McBride was born in Liverpool in 1976 to Irish parents. The family moved back to Ireland when she was three. She spent her childhood in Sligo and Mayo. Then, at the age of 17, she moved to London.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Farr,Strauss and Giraux via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Strange Hotel by Eimear McBride for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
Audiobook Strange Hotel by Eimear McBride
Strange Hotel is Eimear McBride’s third novel. I loved A Girl is a Half Formed Thing, written in an unusual and accomplished stream of consciousness technique. The Lesser Bohemians was a lesser novel, still applying the stream of consciousness technique but feeling rather more knowing. Strange Hotel simply doesn’t work for me.
Strange Hotel follows an unnamed woman staying one (maybe more) nights in hotel rooms around the world. She seems to have no purpose, no job and very little in the way of a past. Maybe she defines herself by a former relationship that she tries to avoid thinking about. But there’s not much to latch onto. And she witters to herself while the novel – mostly written in third person – tries to carry off this interior monologue. This is often about men she has slept with in these hotel visits, sometimes not. There is no plot, no discernible character development, no resolution. Most of the narrative is deliberately opaque to the point that it might as well be rhubarb rhubarb. And in terms of interior monologue – nobody thinks or speaks that way. It isn’t convincing.
The novel is short enough that I kept reading to the end to see whether it would all come together. In some ways the pattern became clearer, but there was no rhyme nor reason why the pattern was being followed. There was no moment of reveal, and no particular sense of understanding to be had.
Basically, it seemed to be a novel about a woman wasting her time and ours.
Audio Strange Hotel narrated by Eimear McBride
I have sometimes not finished a book for the usual reasons- boredom or not particularly engaging with the style of the writing- but I can honestly say that I found this book unreadable due to the “stream of consciousness” style. If you have no problem having to read each sentence several times this would probably be for you.
Free audio Strange Hotel – in the audio player below
This is a clever and complex novel. It also carries a huge emotional heft – if you have read The Lesser Bohemians. In the last chapter we discover that the woman in Strange Hotel is Eily from that novel. Eimear McBride says you don’t have to read it that way, but the coincidence of details is unavoidable. The last chapter is devastatingly powerful if you read it as being Eily. I loved it.
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