May 25, 2022

My Three Book Clubs: April Brings Horrible Conditions and True Horror, A la Stephen King | Books

• My first adventure in Agatha Christie, just 5 hours and 45 minutes on audiobook, was the perfect length and just intriguing enough to pass the time on a road trip to a campsite in Alabama. Aristide Leonides, owner of the title “Wobbly house,” died of barbiturate poisoning. I won’t give too much away, but every member of the family, some as twisted as the house they live in, is suspect in the death of the wealthy Patriarch.

• Reading the subject line of this novel – a collapse of the Ponzi scheme and the 2008 financial crisis – I was not sure “The glass hotel” was for me. And if I had to recommend a book by Emily St. John Mandel, I would always suggest “Station Eleven,” her excellent 2014 novel that follows a theater company as they travel through a post-apocalyptic world. Mandel leaves the dystopian world in “The Glass Hotel”, but just like in his previous work, the characters and sets have a dreamlike, otherworldly quality, which is a remarkable achievement due to the not-so-dreamy subject matter – financial fraud. History spans from the spectacular Hotel Caiette (aka The Glass Hotel), with its glass wall and secluded wilderness setting, to underground electronic clubs, where drugs flow freely, to the Neptune Cumberland, a large container ship, inside a prison. It’s written much like a series of vignettes, with thoughtful portraits of characters that Mandel skillfully interweaves to form a larger, satisfying story.