The Glass Hotel is filled with excellent character studies of people who, for the most part, live in the gray area of life. Not all good. Not all bad. Most have crossed the line. Some more than others.
This is a book to read slowly so that all the people, the all-over-the-place time frames and multiple settings can take shape as initially they do not seem related. But take heart, they eventually weave together nicely. The main characters of Vincent (a female) and her half-brother Paul provide the book’s central relationship. Sharing the same father, they come together during several key periods in their lives including a time when they both work at a new luxury hotel on a remote island near their home town. Soon, Vincent pairs up with Jonathan Alkaitis, the much older owner of the hotel, to trade in her hard life for one of wealth and luxury. It’s not love but it’s close enough to give Vincent the life she craves.
The exposure of Jonathan’s Madoff-like Ponzi scheme changes almost everyone’s lives. When getting ready to face the authorities, Alkaitis says to his team,“Look, we all know what we do here.” But even after admitting he has stolen billions from his victims, he somehow believes it was their fault too as how could they not suspect there was something going on given their incredible profits. One of the associates is asked if he was aware of what was going on and responds, "It’s possible to both know and not know something.”
The Glass Hotel is much more than a story about financial corruption. It is about complex people motivated by greed yet filled with guilt and longing. This unique book includes ghosts (or perhaps simply visions) of those wronged. And while any hint of the paranormal is not something I find appealing, it fits with the haunting atmosphere. The book is unsettling. If the present environment has you wanting a fun, upbeat book, this isn’t it. But if you choose to read The Glass Hotel, you won’t soon forget it.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: March 24, 2020.
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