hooooooo what a thing what a surprise what a funny way to open a book with a paragraph that has no punctuation whatsoever and that instead hits us readers with a woooo-
hoooo on the first line.
Hotel World, by Ali Smith, is divided in five chapters that are narrated from the point of view of five different women, whose paths cross on a single night at the Global Hotel. Sara, the protagonist of the first chapter, is actually a ghost that died on a fall at the Global Hotel before the beginning of the book. The rest of the characters are still alive, and we get to see how each of them is directly or indirectly affected by what happened to Sara.
The book is mostly narrated through interior monologue, which can be tiring for readers who aren’t used or don’t enjoy that specific style. Nevertheless, that the first chapter was a lot of fun to read. Maybe it was due to the fact that Sara’s spirit could and would not leave her body alone until it told her how they ended up in the ground; maybe it was because she spoke in the first person of the plural, which reminded me of Gollum/Sméagol in The Lord of the Rings; still, what I loved the most about it was the language that Smith uses: it’s like a game and it mirrors the action perfectly. In fact, the woooo-
hooooo feels as if it was the language itself was falling.
I do have to say, however, that the next chapters were not nearly as entertaining as the first one. The story sometimes dragged a little and I had to force myself to keep reading, which was ultimately good because there’s another chapter where the stream of consciousness is similar to Molly’s monologue in the last chapter of James Joyce’s Ulysses.
All in all it was an enjoyable read. I don’t recommend it to those who are looking for a book with a fast-paced, linear plot, but if you really like literary ‘experiments’, you can add Hotel World to your to-read list.