So I just watched this amazing film that came out this year that nobody seems to have heard of, and it's called The Laundromat. Meryl Streep and Antonio Banderas are in it. The movie, through a series of seemingly disconnected vignettes, tells the story of shell corporations, fraud, and corruption, on a global scale.
While reading THE GLASS HOTEL, in all of its haunting glory, I thought of The Laundromat because at its heart, it is also a story of corruption. The main characters of this book are a brother and sister, the trophy girlfriend of a rich man, and the ringleader of a multi-billlion dollar Ponzi scheme. Their roles sometimes overlap, and the story is told in many different timelines which all converge, showing how they relate to each other-- and why.
If you're reading this expecting a lot to happen, it's not particularly action-packed. THE GLASS HOTEL is more of a character-driven story, showing people with all of their toxic idiosyncracies. This works for me when done well, but I know it's not everyone's cup of tea to sit around and watch people exist. I liked it-- particularly because it has a lot of cutting remarks on what it means to be rich, poor, desperate, callous, self-serving, selfish, and cruel. All written in beautiful language, too. Someone should hire this author to deliver the news with her eloquent punditry; I like my devastation to be pretty.
As if all that weren't enough, I think there's a bit of a magic-realism element in here towards the end, too, which makes the story extra strange. The author's other book, STATION ELEVEN, was also strange. If you like strange, haunting books, you'll love THE GLASS HOTEL. It's not a particularly happy book, but it's definitely interesting; and I'll take interesting over happy if the payoff is good.
P.S. Go watch The Laundromat. You'll thank me.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
4 out of 5 stars