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The Glass Hotel

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fiction (2020)
From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, an exhilarating novel set at the glittering intersection of two seemingly disparate events–a massive Ponzi scheme collapse and the mysterious disappearance of a woman from a ship at sea.

Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star lodging on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. On the night she meets Jonathan Alkaitis, a hooded figure scrawls a message on the lobby’s glass wall: Why don’t you swallow broken glass. High above Manhattan, a greater crime is committed: Alkaitis is running an international Ponzi scheme, moving imaginary sums of money through clients’ accounts. When the financial empire collapses, it obliterates countless fortunes and devastates lives. Vincent, who had been posing as Jonathan’s wife, walks away into the night. Years later, a victim of the fraud is hired to investigate a strange occurrence: a woman has seemingly vanished from the deck of a container ship between ports of call.

In this captivating story of crisis and survival, Emily St. John Mandel takes readers through often hidden landscapes: campgrounds for the near-homeless, underground electronica clubs, the business of international shipping, service in luxury hotels, and life in a federal prison. Rife with unexpected beauty, The Glass Hotel is a captivating portrait of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences, and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives.

301 pages, Hardcover

First published March 24, 2020

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About the author

Emily St. John Mandel

25 books20.6k followers
Emily St. John Mandel was born and raised on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. She studied contemporary dance at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and lived briefly in Montreal before relocating to New York.

She is the author of five novels, including The Glass Hotel (spring 2020) and Station Eleven (2014.) Station Eleven was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, won the Morning News Tournament of Books, and has been translated into 34 languages. She lives in NYC with her husband and daughter.

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5 stars
30,691 (19%)
4 stars
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3 stars
45,823 (29%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 17,114 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,203 reviews40.8k followers
December 27, 2022
I’m just blinking, giving blank looks, a mesmerized expression on my face…This is spectacular…
When I admire someone’s extraordinary mind and extremely talented creative skills, any word to describe the work he/she created will not be enough to express my feelings. Emily St. John Mandel is the wizard and genius to surprise us how perfectly crafted words and smart story-telling, impeccably developed and layered characterization change our worlds.

This book is real puzzle: all the pieces perfectly scattered around the chapters. You have to give your entire focus on the details because anything you read at those chapters and any clue about one character’s ordinary action create ripple effects on the other character’s main dilemma. We’re going back and forth during 19 years long timeline and we’re introduced with remarkable self- absorbed, swindler characters. They’re restless opportunists who knows seize the leverages for their own benefits, haunted by the choices they’ve made, facing the ghosts of their past mistakes.

Paul, spending his early 20’s dropping out and going back to rehab because of his drug addiction, kicking out from his house, reluctantly choosing the finance as a major even though he has great interest in music but a tragic incident he gets involved ( sharing drugs with the band members who want to befriend results with the death and now the ghost of the very same band member is chasing him everywhere!) , goes back to his father’s house, trying to form a bond with 13 year old step sister Vincent( strange name for a girl. No, she wasn’t named after the painter, it is middle name of her mother’s favorite poet!) who recently lost her mother. But his father is adamant to send Vincent to live with her aunt.

After 4 years later, Vincent and Paul get back together at the dilapidated neighborhood surrounded by drug addicts. That’s where Vincent and her roommate lives and they are getting ready to welcome new millennium as Hotel Caiette’s - five star glass- construction continues.

And a few years later we see Vincent working as a bartender, she helps to Paul getting a job as well but when his brother writes an irritating note on the windowed wall ( we don’t know why he wrote it till the end!) Leo Prevant, a shipping executive sees the note and he doesn’t take it well. Walter who works as inspector finds out Paul’s wrongdoings and forces him to quit his job as the wealthy businessman, owner of the hotel Jonathan Alkaitis (Paul keeps asking his whereabouts which is also found suspicious by Walter! ) arrives at the place, flirting with new bartender.

And a few months later Walter finds out their bartender who quits after her stepbrother’s leaving the place became the wife of Jonathan from the couple’s charity gala attendance photos. But Vincent didn’t marry with Jonathan. She just seized the opportunity to live a luxurious life without thinking money first time in her life as her pretending husband/ boyfriend making shushed talks and scheming about his business plans discreetly. Then BAM we got the reason of the secrecy: A Ponzi Scheme erupts in Big Apple, dragging countless fortunes with it! Jonathan gets arrested and ruins so many people’s lives.

So when you keep reading and getting the clues to fill the blanks about the characters’ destinies, you may put most pieces at the right place. This is fascinating, memorable and intense reading helping you to connect with the flawed characters and the way of their dealing with guilt feelings with supernatural motifs. I get mesmerized with the beauty of writing and I didn’t want it to end and I did my best to read this one slower than my normal routine to absorb each word, sentences, dialogues, entire details.

Maybe it’s too early to tell but not for me: This is gonna be one of my best 10 reads of the year and I already listed at my all-time favorite list. This is masterpiece. Stop procrastinating! Just read it! And send me thank you notes for recommendation.

Profile Image for emma.
1,823 reviews48.6k followers
November 7, 2021
I was semi-relieved to be done with this book when I finished it, because it was at any given point somewhere between mildly and lethally disappointing to me, but every single person in my life was more relieved.


(Spoiler: No UFOs appeared to deus ex machina my suffering away.)

Anyway, there were so many odd responses that I literally could not shut up about it, just for my own sanity and well-being. Everyone in my life will be massively relieved to know I finished this book, just so I can say anything that doesn’t begin with “Does this reaction make sense to you? If you saw creepy graffiti on a hotel window, would you gasp/burst into tears/be haunted by it for years to come?”


And unfortunately, that was not my only grievance. (Even if I spent a review-length amount of words on that alone. Well, a normal person’s review length.)

I also disliked every character.

Which...kind of a bummer.

Also, this markets itself as “a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise.” Which sounds like a dream.


I wanted ghosts and yet I feel that I was tricked into reading about the 2008 economic downturn and the global shipping industry, two topics that could not be further from ghosts based on my interest level alone.

Now that I got all that negativity out of the way, I can say that this is lovely-ly written and one of a kind and very creative, and while a bit of a slog not at all a bad book.

But isn’t it more fun to complain?

Bottom line: I am sad!!!


this was unlike anything i've ever read...

and not quite in a good way?

review to come / 2.5 stars

currently-reading updates

"a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise"

🎶 these are a few of my favorite things 🎶


please support local bookstores if you can!

i just bought my copy of this from Firestorm, a co-op in Asheville that was just robbed (and was incredibly lovely about it, somehow).

tbr review

my hobbies include: saying i can't wait to read a book and then waiting to read it
Profile Image for Marchpane.
293 reviews2,130 followers
January 12, 2020
You may be wondering if The Glass Hotel is anything like Emily St John Mandel’s previous novel Station Eleven? The answer is no. AND yes.

Don’t get me wrong, The Glass Hotel is a very different kind of book. Its setting is realistic, not speculative. In place of Station Eleven’s focus on art (Shakespeare, music, comics) there is filthy lucre – specifically a Ponzi scheme bearing a striking resemblance to Bernie Madoff’s massive fraud. The romanticism of Station Eleven – its starlit gauziness and heady atmosphere, beauty seen in a wildflower by the side of a highway clogged with rusted automobile carcasses – is dialled down here. Mandel’s writing is as evocative as ever, but her emphasis has shifted. In this novel full of morally questionable individuals, there aren’t as many pinpricks of light.

And yet common threads do emerge. Both books have a diffuse cast of characters; both narratives skip forwards and backwards, orbiting a central catastrophic worldwide event that forever bisects life into a before and an after. Station Eleven’s was a flu pandemic, The Glass Hotel’s is the 2008 financial crisis, which triggers the Ponzi scheme’s collapse. In both, the fallout from the singular event claims lives, and those that do survive are set to wandering.

There are more direct links too. Characters from the earlier book reappear here, and the idea of parallel universes – first raised in Station Eleven when characters imagine “a universe in which civilization hadn’t been so brutally interrupted” – also recurs. Mandel ties this to her theme of regret: the characters’ rueful ‘if only’ thinking manifests as reverberations between alternate realities, the ghost versions of lives that might have been, had they made different choices.

It’s as if Station Eleven – which had the feeling of a dream all along – is Oz and The Glass Hotel is Kansas. From parallel worlds arise parallel tales, different tonally but at heart, similar compositions. Mandel’s sensitive characterisations, meticulous layers, and musings on loss, regret and the frangibility of life are all here. It’s just a little less magical. 4 stars.
Profile Image for Rick Riordan.
Author 476 books403k followers
July 13, 2021
After reading Station Eleven, I was glad to find another novel by St. John Mandel. The Glass Hotel is a very different sort of book, but with the same beautiful character work and lovely writing. The story is not so much a linear plot as a montage of life experiences by a cast of characters, studied backward and forward over the course of decades. St. John Mandel has a Dickensian ability to invest each of her characters with such a fully developed personality that it is difficult to even choose "main characters," but the story revolves mostly around Vincent, a young woman whose mother disappears in the waters off the small British Columbian town of Caiette -- an accident? Foul play? an intentional vanishing? -- and leaves Vincent to find her own way in the world, constantly reinventing herself as the opportunity presents.

It's not much of a spoiler to say that the book's plot is heavily inspired by the Bernie Madoff scandal, but it is much more than that. The Glass Hotel is a study in reality versus fantasy, identity versus role, and permanence versus fantasy. Messages are written on glass in more ways than one, and no one stays in one place for long, especially not Vincent. St. John Mandel takes her time exploring her characters in vividly rendered vignettes, puzzle pieces which eventually all connect -- or sometimes don't -- as these characters encounter one another and pass through each others' lives like . . . well, ships in the night (another motif that is mined to good effect in the novel).

This is a quiet, beautifully written, intricately constructed mosaic of narratives. If you are looking for a master class on how to write memorable characters with deft strokes and sharp imagery, you could do worse than reading St. John Mandel.
Profile Image for Roxane.
Author 118 books157k followers
August 3, 2020
Beautifully written but this book is doing way too much. A Ponzi scheme, a brother who is an addict and composer, a sister who is a trophy wife and then a ship’s cook, a hotel on a remote Canadian island, also ghosts, and the ways all these things are connected. I admire the ambition but it doesn’t cohere, for me. Still enjoyed reading.
Profile Image for Bethany Wagner.
157 reviews17 followers
November 20, 2019
This is a really hard book to rate for me because I feel as if this simply was just not a book. This was a collection of life struggles and lessons and observations through a million different characters, and you never really get the satisfaction of understanding. There was no real story to this, in the traditional sense. This felt to me like a book of short stories all mashed together into a confusing ball of a book. I enjoyed the start, as it follows one character (Paul) through grief and understanding that his actions can cause a ripple in the lives of others, but then everything quickly changed perspective... many times. I think if the story would’ve stuck with Paul and Vincent, I would’ve been fine. But to get all this backstory of other characters through random outside sources just threw me off. I can’t even properly explain or express the book I just read, I’m just left with confusion and a feeling that I’m missing something big, that this was some sort of puzzle and I’m not seeing the full picture. Or maybe the message of this novel is that life is made up of a mash of wayward memories and grief and regret and past mistakes, all tangled up in a completely meaningless life in the grand scheme of things.
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,606 reviews24.8k followers
December 5, 2019
Emily St. John Mandel writes an exquisite other worldly novel, slightly surreal as if peering through a misted looking glass, of alternative realities, paths not taken, ghosts, of a diverse and disparate cast of characters, their lives and connections revealed as the narrative goes back and forth in time. It is a story of greed, immense wealth, a financial empire built on the shifting sands of an international Ponzi scheme, reflecting the real life example of Bernie Madoff, and the financial collapse in 2008. Mandel tracks her victims and perpetrators with their interwoven lives, the characterisation sharp yet subtle, nuanced, with the capacity to see the humanity of both in a profoundly moving way. She intricately pieces together different lives, structured to intrigue, with answers that comes together holistically at the end.

Vincent is a bartender at the 5 star Hotel Caiette, located in the far north of Vancouver Island, where a message has been written on the glass wall of the lobby, 'Why don't you swallow broken glass'. This has Leon Prevant, a shipping executive, needing a drink, but the message is missed by the intended target, the owner of the hotel and investment manager, Jonathan Alkaitis. The meeting that night of Vincent and Jonathan, leads to her becoming a 'trophy wife', whose life becomes opened to a world of untold wealth and riches. However, with the swift collapse of the financial empire, lives are ruined and devastated, individuals and retirement pensions wiped out. Her brother Paul, a drug addict with a love of music, studies finance, becoming a drop out. The story begins and ends with Vincent's disappearance from the Neptune Cumberland, between which are skilfully woven in glimpses of the lives lived, greed, ghosts, corruption, regrets, reflections on paths not taken, grief, loss, memory, conscience and an overwhelming sense of guilt.

Mandel is a powerful, beautiful and offbeat writer, so atmospheric, evocative, dreamy, lingering in her wide range of often surprising locations, her scope in location and character is extraordinary. This novel felt artistic, ambitious, and highly imaginative, although possibly it may not appeal to some readers as it demands patience before its direction and purpose become clear. This is a stunning and spellbinding read, unforgettable, gripping as it penetrates the themes of financial crisis, its repercussions and the process of survival. Cannot recommend this highly enough. Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for an ARC.
Profile Image for karen.
3,979 reviews170k followers
November 19, 2020
oooh, goodreads choice awards finalist for best fiction 2020! what will happen?

i am going to put this book in a time capsule, to be opened in fifty years, with the following note:

the world is almost entirely terrible right now, except for this book.

and if there is anyone left alive on the planet fifty years from now to dig it up, they, too, will declare this book a masterpiece.

because yoo-mons don't change, not really, and this book proves once again that emily st. john mandel has a deeper, broader understanding than most about what makes humanity tick, and has graced us with another panoramic polynarrative of ambition, guilt, human frailty and the whole sordid mess of us; good and bad and trying and failing. this complex, deeply absorbing story of overlapping lives, connections and consequences, and how everyone’s a little shitty sometimes is exactly what we need right now; something neutrally observed, yet still empathetic; rich and referential and perfect.

i read this book back in november and i didn’t have the words then to convey how good it was and now here we are in march a week away from its publication date and the only thing different is that i’d probably remove the words “almost entirely” from my time capsule message.

coronavirus may be keeping libraries and bookstores* closed right now—maybe the events of Station Eleven are heading our way (unless—fingers crossed—we're in the counterlife), but don't let social distancing prevent you from reading this book. many indie stores are set up for online ordering or curbside pickup and if you're an audio person, THIS IS YOUR TIME!

it's every bit as good as i wanted it to be.

* not mine, though! and if i get sick, it'll all be worth it to make sure you people have enough books to read in your quarantined safety.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,535 reviews32.6k followers
March 26, 2020
this story definitely falls under the whole ‘its not what you say, but how you say it.’

honestly, i couldnt care less about the subject of this novel. a good 1/3 of the book is about the 2008 financial crisis and the collapse of a ponzi scheme. that is not something that interests me one bit. but how mandel portrays this topic, how she effectively structures the narrative, and how she intertwines the lives of the characters is really fascinating. i found myself enjoying this because i liked how the story came together and was written, not necessarily the story itself. if that makes sense.

i dont think this is as good as ‘station eleven,’ as this didnt really affect me personally/emotionally, but its definitely a unique narrative in its own right and makes for a really interesting to read due to how the story unfolds.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
403 reviews3,541 followers
April 26, 2023
In 2010, I worked as a document review attorney in a case involving stock fraud. It was far more interesting than The Glass Hotel.

Most people think that securities fraud is essentially Robinhood in nature; someone steals from the rich (millionaires or billionaires). These rich investors should have known better and will be comforted by their other millions.

However, this is not always the case. Not every impacted account shows warning signs. For example, a certain type of scheme involves regular accounts. The fund manager then pledges that account for his own high-risk trades. When his high-risk trades don’t turn out, he loses the underlying, regular account.

Some investors were just regular people: teachers, firefighters, dentists, self-employed. People who don’t have a 401K at work would take their money to a local person to save for their retirements, scrapping together $25 a week. They were not engaging in high-risk trades. Their accounts were not always gaining or had abnormal returns. They were just regular accounts but unknowingly at risk. This is exactly what happened in QuadrigaCX, a cryptocurrency exchange scheme featured on Netflix’s Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King, where the CEO Gerald Cotten engaged in high-risk trading and sold off all of his client funds to cover his trading losses. Of course, his clients had no idea that Cotten was using their assets for his own personal benefit.

Securities fraud can be really interesting. However, this book was not.

The Glass Hotel has shifting perspectives, following various characters and shifting timelines. It felt like this book was trying to be A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, but it didn’t work.

Loved Station Eleven, thought Sea of Tranquility was decent, but this was really bad. The paragraphs were too long, and I didn’t feel emotionally connected to this story. Where were the stories of the victims?

Why are there so many characters in this book? Faisal, Jonathan, Vincent, Mirella, Leon, Paul, Walter, Olivia, Claire, Lucas, Oskar, Ron, Harvey, Simone, Annika, and more. I couldn’t even remember who all these people were even while reading this book.

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Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews33 followers
March 27, 2020
I’m too biased about Emily St. John Mandel to be completely objective. I’m a huge fan!!!

Every novel is exquisitely written, compelling, and utterly absorbing.

Emily chooses her words carefully- consciously - vibrantly - never leaving me with the feeling that anything needs to be edited.

I met this extraordinary author in 2010...
after buying and reading her first book through Unbridled books....an independent book company that features new books by new hot-and-up-incoming- authors.

Emily’s first book was a beautiful elegiac story....
I was ‘Emily-Hooked’ immediately-( in ‘aw’ and ‘blown away’), after reading:
“Last Night In Montreal”....
( a story of love, mystery, and obsession)....

Her second book, “The Singer’s Gun”, ( a crime thriller), was even more sophisticated and complicated....with unusual characters.

Her third book, “The Lola Quartet”....( action filled with tension - yet also deeply introspective), was dangerously exciting.

I had been telling friends - (unknown at the time), about this gifted Canadian author for years.
But many readers didn’t know of her work until
her outbreak dystopian hit, (through Knopf publishing)...”Station Eleven”.
Her 4th book:
“Station Eleven” brought Emily well deserved recognition.
A Pulitzer Prize contender/nominee - put *Emily St. John Mandel*, on the map.
She became an instant household name for readers worldwide.

This fifth book, “The Glass Hotel”...( highly anticipated), is compulsively irresistible!
The story grabs us from the first page....with fascinating characters ( and fascinating chosen character names).

It’s disturbing to read about so much corruption and greed. ( especially when we are legitimately concerned about ‘real life’... the true stories of massive frauds).

We follow a Ponzi scheme - calculated with swindling- self-serving- characters - and supernatural aspects.
Terrific storytelling atmosphere...with a strong sense of moral quandaries to grapple with....Emily St. John is one of my all-time favorite female authors.
She can do no wrong in my eyes...
I’ll read and enjoy every book she writes.
I pre-paid for the physical book 2 months before it was released... and started reading it the day I had it in my hands.
I own and cherish each of her books. I admit, I’ve got that unconditionally love going on!

Taut, and haunting...with compelling characters....
there is something so formidably honest about the magnificent prose.

Note: if you’ve never read any of Emily‘s books....
Starting with “Station Eleven”, is fine.....
but ( just my humble opinion)...,
I’d actually begin with, “Last Night In Montreal”.
It’s enjoyable watching Emily evolve - ( crafting - styling- - storytelling - depth - terrific nuance with each new novel).

Timeless deceptions in disguise....this literary mystery novel will pull on your heartstrings!

Profile Image for JanB .
1,146 reviews2,532 followers
September 4, 2021
4.5 stars
The Glass Hotel is much more than a story about financial corruption. It’s about complex, self-delusional people motivated by greed, and the people caught up and destroyed in their orbit.

Atmospheric and haunting, the first half is a slow build but the beautiful writing carries the story. There are multiple characters, moving back and forth in time over two decades, and patience is required in the beginning. I trusted the author and was rewarded as she wove all the seemingly disparate threads together beautifully.

There are plenty of peripheral characters but Vincent (a girl named after Edna St. Vincent Millay), is the central character and opens and closes the book. Her brother Paul, along with Jonathan Alkaitis, the architect of a Ponzi scheme, are the other two major players.

Art, in all its forms, plays an important part in the character’s lives. There are multiple themes, but they are not heavy-handed. Much of the common thread that ties the characters together is a theme of what people know or don’t know and how willing they are to skirt the edges of ethical and moral behavior. Sometimes the line between right and wrong is a firm line in the sand, other times the line is thin. The theme of self-deception is explored throughout the book:

“It’s possible to both know and not know something,” ….he spoke for several of us actually, several of us who’d been thinking a great deal about that doubleness, that knowing and not knowing, being honorable and not being honorable, knowing you’re not a good person but trying to be a good person regardless around the margins of the bad.”

There is often a dreamlike quality to the writing as characters long dead show up on the periphery of a character’s vision. Whether they are really there or not is questionable, as “There are so many ways to haunt a person, or a life.”

I had decided to skip this one because I wasn’t a fan of Station Eleven, but I am so glad I decided to give it a chance. I finished this a couple of weeks ago but needed to sit with it before writing a review. I love a book that makes me think and the more I mulled it over, the more the story grew on me. Don’t rush this one!
Profile Image for Danielle.
809 reviews403 followers
September 26, 2020
Unpopular opinion here, don’t come at me friends, but this read was kinda disappointing. 😬 I guess because station eleven was so great, I was expecting more? 🤷🏼‍♀️ This story follows two broken siblings trying to stumble their way through life. It’s a pretty tragic story, in my opinion. I was left feeling sad and just kinda depressed- but don’t let that dissuade you from reading and forming your own opinion. ❤️📚
Profile Image for Nataliya.
745 reviews11.9k followers
March 13, 2022
“There are so many ways to haunt a person, or a life.”
There is something undeniably magical about this story. It is strange, a bit surreal and dreamlike and sometimes even slightly disorienting. And it takes a while for you to resurface from its emotional weight that somehow creeps up upon you when you really don’t expect it.
“It is possible to leave so much out of any given story.”
It is a story about people and the connections that form between them, the strange ways their lives touch, intersect and overlap briefly, causing unexpected ripples on otherwise smooth surfaces, only to diverge again and then maybe converge in a new pattern, for better or worse. It is about the strange directions that lives can take - or not take, the lives lived and unlived and wished for, the alternate realities which can haunt you relentlessly.

It is a story of greed and guilt and dreams and failures and regrets.
This book does not have a conventional plot. It’s like it’s made of vignettes that eventually come together and form a larger story, come to a greater whole. It made me think of those five-minute videos that Vincent obsessively takes - short but vivid glimpses into life, open-ended and with little resolution - like shards of the universes that we inhabit.
“No, money is a country and he had the keys to the kingdom.”
Nobody in this book is perfect. Everyone is messy and pathetic and frequently awful - and so very human. Emily St John Mandel clearly *gets* people, sees them in their complexity and is able to bring them to life so skillfully, with so much nuance and understanding that it’s a pleasure to read.
“I’m paying a price for this life, she told herself, but the price is reasonable.”
Despite what the book description made me think, you really don’t need to know anything about how Ponzi schemes work. All that’s important here is that it is a giant fraud that can make people feel good for a while with the windfall of unearned cash, and then it eventually collapses, destroying lives by stripping people of everything they thought they had. The coveted “country of money“ can quickly become the “shadowland” of those fallen through the cracks.
“It wasn’t the stuff that kept her in this strange new life, in the kingdom of money; it wasn’t the clothing and objects and handbags and shoes. It wasn’t the beautiful home, the travel; it wasn’t Jonathan’s company, although she did genuinely like him; it wasn’t even inertia. What kept her in the kingdom was the previously unimaginable condition of not having to think about money, because that’s what money gives you: the freedom to stop thinking about money. If you’ve never been without, then you won’t understand the profundity of this, how absolutely this changes your life.”
Beautiful book. Loved it. 4.5 stars.

Also posted on my blog.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,738 reviews14.1k followers
February 16, 2020
I'm not usually attracted to books that feature financial elements, but in this case I made an exception. Simply because I love how this author writes and the way she puts together a story. I'm so glad I went with my intuition, which shows sometimes you just need to trust a favored author.

Although this is about a Ponzi scheme, it is so much more. It is the story of Vincent, a female, named after Edna St. Vincent Milay , and she is a fasinating character. A sort of chameleon, trying to find her way through life after the death of her mother. Jonathan is the initiator of the Ponzi scheme, something that will effect many lives, including Vincents.

The writing is equisite, the story clips along at a steady pace and i found it quite addicting. It is at heart the story of the haves and have nots, unreal monetary expectations. Con men and those who allow themselves to be conned. The choices one makes, where one mistake can equivocally change ones fate. The connections one makes and those that just seem to happen. Alternate realities, where one sees different choices played out. Do you think it possible for one to actually see their consciences become real? Something to ponder.

I thought this was a terrific and very different story.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
368 reviews223 followers
March 16, 2020
Thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC!

This started at four stars for me. Towards the middle, it was sitting at a three. And by the end - I hate to say it, because I was so excited to read this - but I'm sticking with two. Two stars means for me: although it might have had a few redeeming elements and might be better for you, I wouldn't recommend it.

Really, this just seemed like a mess made up of very interesting things that were just out of focus. A secluded luxury hotel, a collapsing Ponzi scheme, a pair of estranged siblings that come into each other's lives during very pivotal moments - pair all that with Mandel's atmospheric, delicate writing and that sounds like a great novel. But it just didn't work. We barely get to explore the hotel; we get thrown into the Ponzi scheme and those it affects right at the end, when it's over; the siblings are unlikeable and disappear for huge swaths of the novel, leaving us with other unlikeable one-off characters.

Ultimately, this led to a book that just wasn't about anything. The many story lines do come together, but not in any way that I found meaningful. I was left at the end asking: what's the point?
Profile Image for Melissa ~ Bantering Books.
207 reviews789 followers
September 4, 2021
Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews.

So, total shocker – I loved The Glass Hotel more than I loved Station Eleven.

Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven sits high upon my favorites shelf. I sing its praises tirelessly to all who will listen, knowing the novel will one day be viewed as a dystopian, post-apocalyptic classic.

But The Glass Hotel is even better. And I say this as a reader who didn’t really want to read it, seeing as the story revolves around, of all things, a collapsing Ponzi scheme. Not the most interesting topic, is it?

I should’ve held tighter to my faith in St. John Mandel, though. Because the novel is, in fact, very interesting, and about so much more than a financial scam. It’s about greed and corruption, selfishness and dishonesty, alternate realities and ghosts. And how remorse for our actions can wear away the soul.

To read The Glass Hotel is to feel as if you’ve slipped into a dream. The story has this surreal, otherworldly aura, and St. John Mandel’s writing is hypnotic, lulling, and uniquely beautiful.

Though, a fair warning to those who do plan to read this extraordinary novel – its structure is rather scattered and formless. Much like Station Eleven, the narrative flits from character to character, back and forth in time, with the characters’ lives crisscrossing and diverging. Some may find the intentional chaos messy and confusing. I, however, found it to be brilliant.

The Glass Hotel is haunting. Gripping. Utterly unforgettable. And it has earned a place on my favorites shelf, where it will forever remain.

Scoot over, Station Eleven. Let’s make some room for The Glass Hotel.

Bantering Books
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
March 6, 2020
”Leon hadn’t understood, and he’d given Alkaitis his retirement savings anyway. He didn’t insist on a detailed explanation. One of our signature flaws as a species: we will risk almost anything to avoid looking stupid. The strategy had seemed to adhere to a certain logic, even if the precise mechanics--puts, calls, options, holds, conversions--swam just outside of his grasp. ‘Look,’ Alkaitis had said, at his warmest and most accommodating, ‘I could break it all down for you, but I think you understand the gist of it, and at the end of the day the returns speak for themselves.’”

It is the perfect time to be reading this book as I watch the stock market plummet over fears of what the coronavirus will do to the ebb and flow of money. I pulled my money out years ago to invest in real estate, so I’m really rather a disinterested observer as the panic begins to gain momentum. What makes this downturn interesting is, if there are any Madoffesque Ponzi schemes operating out there, they will be exposed. As long as the markets are good Ponzi schemes work like clockwork. When markets start to get shaky is when too many calls come in too quickly for a scheming ponzi criminal to cover.

The party at that point is over.

The 2008 crash is what exposed Jonathan Alkaitis’s indiscretions. Rarely do investors hang with you when they start to see the market begin to free fall. They don’t care how many great returns you’ve given them in the past. They want their money back, and they want it back now. Remember the run on the bank in It’s a Wonderful Life? Well, that is exactly what happened to Alkaitis in 2008. There was no money to give them because there were no fresh investors giving Alkaitis an infusion of new cash. The whole scheme spiralled down the toilet.

The primary thing that drives a Ponzi scheme is greed. Frankly, I don’t care if some smooth talking, immoral Alkaitis type character takes rich, greedy people for all their money because they should know better. What really irritates me is when guys like Alkaitis take regular people for their small nest eggs and retirement funds. That’s when what he does goes from being a snake oil swindler to being a devastator of lives.

Emily St. James Mandel does a great job of laying out exactly what a Ponzi scheme is, but if you have fears that this book is all about schemes and money, don’t worry. Mandel has always been wonderful at building the emotion and authenticity of her characters’ lives.

So the way a Ponzi scheme works is that a slick talking operator with some trading experience convinces a few of his rich buddies to invest some money with him, guaranteeing them a certain rate of return. Sometimes those buddies are in on the scheme, and sometimes they are clueless, but they all feel absolutely brilliant when they start getting checks, reflecting astronomical returns. Some math would tell them that these rates of return are impossible, but that isn’t really a thought as long as the checks keep coming. Those initial investors then tell their friends and acquaintances about these fabulously large checks they have been “earning” and recruit more investors to the scheme. So Alkaitis is really just a salesman, a closer who convinces these people he is a brilliant investor, but what these investors don’t know is that he never invests their money. Their money is being used to pay the big returns to the initial investors and to support his lavish lifestyle. As long as the market is a bull market, attracting more investors is no problem, and everything works great. When the stock market tumbles, he doesn’t have the cash to pay out to the numerous, nervous investors wanting their money back.

That’s when people with handcuffs make a visit.

There is a mystery threaded through the plot as to what really happened to the woman who fell off the boat in the opening chapter of the book. She has an unusual name. She was named for the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (can’t help noticing how closely that name reflects the author’s name), and few people forget a beautiful woman named Vincent. She becomes the trophy “wife” of Alkaitis. She is not stupid, but she sees money as a mysterious agent that seems to materalize, like magic in her new life. ”Everything in the shop was gorgeous, but the yellow gloves shone with a special light. She tried them on and bought them without looking at the price tag, because in the age of money her credit card was a magical, weightless thing.”

She was a bartender before she met Alkaitis and will be one again.

This is an effortless read. I blew through it on a flight from Denver to Charlotte. Mandel’s writing style is smooth and elegant. She is one of my favorite young writers, and I certainly look forward to her next book. If you haven’t read her work before, I would suggest starting with her book Station Eleven, which could very well prove to be her grand opus. If you like post-apocalyptic novels, you will enjoy her unique and poignant view of a possible future. If you think money is boring, which it is, but regardless you should still understand it, especially if your beloved Uncle Ted leaves you a nice packet, this book will give you some perspective and, hopefully, help you keep from falling into the honey laced traps of conmen. The sage advice, if it is too good to be true then it is really too good to be true, should always be remembered.

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten
Profile Image for Blair.
1,770 reviews4,249 followers
April 30, 2020
Review written July 2019: It must be incredibly difficult for a writer to follow a monster hit like Station Eleven. Everyone, it seems, is dying to read The Glass Hotel, and that includes me: I normally think it's a little obnoxious to review an advance copy 6+ months before the book's publication, but I simply could not wait to dive into this one. So I will get this out of the way first: The Glass Hotel is not post-apocalyptic, it's not dystopian, it's straight literary fiction (which is not to say that it doesn't have its little moments of strangeness). This novel may not pack the same plot-driven punch as its predecessor, but in the end I was glad of that. The simpler premise allows the beauty and brilliance of the author's writing to take centre stage.

The Glass Hotel is set between the mid-1990s and the late 2010s, and it's about a Ponzi scheme. I have to admit I wasn't really clear on what a Ponzi scheme is, other than being a scam; basically, it describes a situation in which investors are paid fake profits using funds gathered from other investors. The progenitor of the scheme in this book is a man called Jonathan Alkaitis, but the story isn't really (or isn't only) about him. If there's a main character, it's his much younger partner, Vincent (who, despite the name, is a woman). The two of them meet in the bar of the Hotel Caiette – he's the owner, she's the bartender – and Vincent, having grown up 'on a road with two dead ends', is carried off into a new, strange existence as his trophy wife. She calls it 'the kingdom of money', and it is fated not to last.

I have often seen The Glass Hotel described as a 'follow-up' to Station Eleven, which might have led some to presume it would be a sequel. There is a link: it features two Station Eleven characters – Miranda and her boss Leon Prevant – and though they don't play major roles, this is a clear indication that the two books are set in the same reality. Elsewhere, however, there is a clever suggestion that a future in which the Georgia flu ravages society might just be a figment of another character's imagination. This, in turn, ties in to the idea of 'the counterlife', a sort of parallel-universe theory Jonathan uses as a coping strategy in prison. All the while, ghosts flit back and forth in the margins.

Something I loved about Station Eleven was Emily St. John Mandel's ability to bring her characters to life very economically; to make them feel like real people without the need for pages and pages of backstory. The same principle applies here. Each person in The Glass Hotel is so richly imagined, I could have read a whole book about any of them. One of the things it does most effectively is to shine a spotlight on some of those affected by Jonathan's scheme: you get a little window into how their lives will change, and these sketches are all the more effective for their brevity.

I also loved the organic nature of the characters' interactions with each other. Their lives intersect in ways that reminded me of Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad. It was disconcerting to go back to my original review of Station Eleven and find I compared that to A Visit from the Goon Squad as well! I honestly had no memory of doing so, but I guess the connection was lurking around my subconscious somewhere. I mention it because I like the synchronicity: this little coincidence/recurrence is exactly the sort of thing that would happen to a character in an Emily St. John Mandel book.

The Glass Hotel reeled me in quietly. There are no big shocks or dramatic twists here, just thoughtful portraits of characters who feel very much like real people. Also subtly brilliant illumination of the ways in which we all cross paths with others, how we remember people (or create myths around them, or forget them), how it's possible to influence someone's journey with the lightest touch. Everyday magic. I've been meaning to read the author's earlier work for years, and after this, maybe I'll finally get round to it; I want to spend more time in the worlds she creates.

I received an advance review copy of The Glass Hotel from the publisher through Edelweiss.

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Profile Image for Henk.
851 reviews
July 11, 2022
An interconnected tale of people drifting between the late capitalistic lands of money and shadows
”Small world”
“The smallness of the world never ceases to amaze me.”

Money and (a)morality
It wasn’t that she was about to lose everything, it was that she’d already lost everything and just didn’t know it yet.
Emily St. John Mandel weaves an interconnected tale around Vincent (a girl) and Paul, half siblings growing up on a remote island in the vicinity of Vancouver.
Both experience trauma, Vincent due to her mother leaving on kayak and never returning and Paul through his struggle with drugs addiction and collateral damage from this.
The Glass Hotel of the title unites them again after their childhood; a five star private retreat in the wilderness and the only employer in the neighbourhood. Vincent leaves her bartender role to date with the owner of the hotel, but soon something fishy concerning Jonathan Alkaitis (But what kind of man lies to his daughter about being married?) becomes clear.
Here one of the key theme of the book comes into focus, how (the lure of) money corrupts.
Vincent caughts herself thinking: Lying about being married troubled her conscience, but not enough to make her want to flee. I’m paying a price for this life, she told herself, but the price is reasonable.
The other key theme of St. John Mandel is how people struggle with the realization that they are less ethical and principled than they like to be on a conceptual level.

And the prize of this tension between knowing but not acting is steep in the end.
Not only does the following thought pass Vincent her mind, between all the cocktail parties, shopping and meetings where she acts the trophy wife (I was having one of those moments, where you look at your life and think, Is this really it? I thought there’d be more.) but the financial crisis of 2008 impacts her life as well, driving her to sea.

When the ponzi scheme comes crashing down, the focus on the morality of seemingly ordinary people comes even more in the foreground. Seemingly small choices, to accept a bonus for silence, the comfort of money, in the end pulls a lot of people towards a jail sentence. How Emily St. John Mandel portrays the characters realising this, and then coping with that knowledge, is very well done. You get perspective on the impact of the collapse, with people ending up evicted and living in a car as working poor or even suicides. Finance is far from abstract in this manner.

The supernatural and guilt
There is an exquisite lightness in waking up each morning with the knowledge that the worst has already happened.
Paul meanwhile is troubled by his past, and seemingly supernatural ghost sightings (The lights were so bright that it was possible to be certain that he hadn’t actually seen a ghost.), something that ends up being seen as well by the lover of Vincent. It can be interpreted as a play on alternative universes, regret and grief, if one does not want to see this in a Stephen King kind of way.

Paul ends up being a thief to his half sister, in a way that felt quite invasive even though it was not a physical theft. None of the characters is solely good or uncorrupted in the interconnected narrative the author spins. Not many even survive, it seems, if one summarizes after finishing the book.

The modern interconnected world portrayed skilfully
In the Glass Hotel everyone knows (or meets) everyone. This is reminiscent to Station Eleven that followed all the people who knew an actor.
A character from the shipping industry makes a cameo from Station Eleven, and there are some musings on a Georgia flue that thankfully was stopped.

The timescale of the book is decades, in which we go back and forth associatively, so in part this interconnectedness can be called convincing. But in my opinion this book had a much more constructed feel then its predecessor.
In a sense it is impressive how Mandel captures the complex modern world, and of course a lot of chance together is statistics, but I missed sometimes emotional gravity or a forceful drive.

This is a well written novel, but after the five star read of Station Eleven I'd expected more when starting the Glass Hotel.
Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,052 reviews583 followers
November 28, 2022
Anyone who has read Station Eleven or in fact any of the author’s previous novels will know that Mandel writes thoughtful and addictive stories. Her prose doesn’t shout a story at you, it’s far more subtle than that. Instead you’re more likely to be taken through a gentle maze of events that eventually knit together to deliver a gut punch. This book starts with what appears to be a scene of Vincent’s final moments after falling off a ship. One of what may be her final thoughts is a wish to see her brother. Quickly the time frame changes and we’re introduced to to Paul, a dropout from the University of Toronto where he was studying finance. Paul’s real interest is music but for reasons that will become apparent later he ended up studying a subject he really had no interest in. Paul, we learn, has a half-sister called Vincent.

The story floats about in both time and place. The time element runs from the early 1990’s to close to the present day and the places are principally British Columbia and Manhattan. When we next come across Vincent and Paul they are both working at a luxury hotel situated at the most northerly tip of Vancouver Island. One night a lone guest spots a disturbing message scrawled on the large glass window of the lounge. Later that same night Vincent, who runs the bar, meets the rich owner of the hotel and a strange deal is struck between the two. We’ll make sense of these two events, but not yet, not for some time.

There are essentially two threads at play: the story of Vincent and Paul, of their early life and of how their lives play out and then, as the cast expands, the impact of a Ponzi Scheme on its investors as it all goes belly up and their money is lost. Anyone familiar with the notorious Bernie Madoff investment scandal will have a sense of just how totally investors in this type of full-on con can be financially ruined. And interestingly a couple of characters we meet along the way featured in the aforementioned Station Eleven; things turn out differently for Miranda Carroll and Leon Prevant in this book. So what do we have here, a Sliding Doors style set-up in which a very different life for this pair plays out? It’s a quirky element in this intriguing piece.

I love the way the story is put together. After each player is introduced we lose sight of them for a while, only to catch up with them later. Each is deftly drawn and sympathetically brought to life and I found myself caring for all of them, even the bad guy at the centre of the fraud. The time shifts are also brilliantly effective and allow the story to play out in a surprising but highly effective way. There are ghosts here too and that’s not something I’m usually accepting of in any tale, but strangely they work here – they provide a linkage and ultimately a wholeness to the story that might not otherwise be there.

This book is due to be published in March 2020, some six months from now and I’m sure it will find many, many admirers. I absolutely loved it. I finished reading it a couple of days ago but it’s taken me a little while to clear my mind and to capture my thoughts on it – in truth, it’s been deeply embedded in my head from the first day I started it.

My sincere thanks to Pan Macmillan and NetGalley for providing a hcopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Tammy.
512 reviews431 followers
December 5, 2019
“You should eat broken glass.”

The sentence above, a remote island hotel, a Ponzi scheme, a container ship, a lost young woman, and a ghostly presence provide the framework for this masterful novel about greed, guilt, ambition, and love. The writing is languid and dreamy yet still page-turning as the stories of the interconnected characters fold back upon themselves. This is a mesmerizing, unearthly novel with characters throwing stones and crossing lines. Don’t miss it.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
2,179 reviews618 followers
February 12, 2021
In Emily St John Mandel's previous much loved novel ‘Station Eleven’ she wrote about a post-apocalyptic world which had an almost dream-like feel. This novel is centred around a modern day financial calamity but has that same ethereal, other worldly quality. Hotel Caiette, the glass hotel, itself feels disconnected from time and place "an improbable palace lit up against the darkness of the forest" with it's wall of glass looking over the wilderness. Built on a small island off the north coast of Vancouver Island, it can only be reached by boat and allows guests to feel that they are in the middle of wilderness without having to actually be in it, instead cocooned in the luxury of a modern hotel.

The glass hotel is not so much the focus of the book as the centrepoint where the characters paths cross and chance meetings and decisions are made that will affect all their futures. The main character, Vincent Smith is the night bartender at the hotel. She grew up in Caiette but left at the age of thirteen when her mother disappeared while kayaking. While working one night she will meet the owner of the hotel, Jonathan Alkaitis, a wealthy New York financier and leave to start a new life with him. Vincent's half brother Paul, also working at the hotel as a night porter, after dropping out of business school, but is a thwarted musician. Jealous of Vincent for her relationship with their father who left Paul's mother for Vincent's, Paul is already bored with the job and ready for any opportunity coming his way. In the early hours of the morning Leon Prevant, a shipping executive and insomniac, sipping his whisky, is the only guest in the bar when someone camouflaged in black etches an extraordinary phrase on the glass window shocking all who see it. Leon will also meet Jonathan Alkaitis later that day and make a decision that will later change his life forever.

Those at the hotel that night will move on to other lives. Ones that that will involve greed, betrayal, theft and fraud and feel no less unreal than living in the glass hotel. Vincent finds herself living in the rarefied world of the very wealthy where spending thousands shopping soon becomes boring and will later find herself living at sea in another existence that seems to exist outside of the world.

The novel is strangely beautiful given it is about financial fraud and is infused with Mandel's lyrical, atmospheric writing. The characters are subtly and fully depicted. Following the corruption there will be suicides but also survival and re-invention for some, but always with the danger of slipping below the surface into madness or into that shadowland of mere existence in contemporary America. A very inventive and almost hypnotic novel to read.

With many thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia and Netgalley for a digital ARC to read
Profile Image for Debbie W..
726 reviews492 followers
November 18, 2022
Why I chose to listen to this audiobook:
1. I really enjoyed Emily St. John Mandel's story-writing style in Station Eleven, so I thought that I would give this one a try;
2. it's available on Hoopla; and,
3. July 2022 is my self-designated "Canadian Authors Month"!

1. in 2016, I was fascinated by the TV mini-series titled Madoff (starring Richard Dreyfus). This book, featuring a massive Ponzi scheme gone wrong. reminded me a lot of that show; and,
2. although this book has a whole heap of characters, each one is nicely-developed and connected so plausibly that I didn't have any trouble keeping track of them all! We hear the voice of Jonathan Alkaitis, the wealthy investor manager who is running an international Ponzi scheme. We also hear (and empathize with) the large cast of victims and survivors who were unwittingly (albeit, some willingly) caught up in Alkaitis's criminal activities, from a Saudi prince to close family friends who had invested their life savings into his venture. We hear from Alkaitis's family members and, of course, we hear the thoughts of Alkaitis's colleagues and employees.

Niggles (with the audiobook):
1. the narrator sounded too feminine for some male characters; so much so that I had to occasionally rewind to clarify exactly who was speaking; and,
2. I really wish the "Acknowledgements" were included in this audiobook.

Overall Thoughts:
Although vastly different in genre from Station Eleven, I quite enjoy Emily St. John Mandel's writing style. Yep! I have her newest book Sea of Tranquility on my WTR list!

If you prefer character-driven stories with a contemporary feel, then check out this book. To enjoy its full essence, you may wish to read a print copy in order to get the "Author's Note".
Profile Image for Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤.
789 reviews1,187 followers
June 6, 2022
What can I say about THE GLASS HOTEL that hasn't already been said?

I loved Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven and, because The Glass Hotel sounds so different, I didn't want to read it. Silly? Yep.

However, while the books might differ in their content, they are both written with the superb storytelling prowess of Ms. Mandel. This woman can write

After reading Sea of Tranquility a couple weeks ago, and hearing that a couple of the characters in it were from THE GLASS HOTEL, I decided to put my hesitation aside and read it.

Am I ever glad I did. What I didn't think would interest me -rich people, a Ponzi scheme, etc - held me enthralled. It's an incredible story with multiple characters' POVs, moving back and forth in time.

Though both books are stand alone, I'm glad I read SEA OF TRANQUILITY first. I think I got more out of it, and noticed certain things I wouldn't have had I read it first. I won't say what because that might give some things away.

If you enjoy high quality, imaginative fiction and haven't yet read Emily St John Mandel, I recommend you give her a try. I'm so glad she has three earlier books that I still have to read.... and am already looking forward to whatever she writes in the future. 
Profile Image for Carol.
353 reviews330 followers
August 30, 2020
****4.5 Stars****My first novel by this author and it is a dazzling and haunting story. I was fascinated by its allusions to the financial crisis of 2008, the aftermath, and the Ponzi fraudster extraordinaire, Bernie Madoff.

The author’s “glass” hotel suggests that our lives are precarious, and our situations are unpredictable. All the characters are connected in some way to Jonathan Alkaitis, the wealthy investor that perpetuated the Ponzi scheme, and many of them are visited by ghosts.

The novel traces the momentous impact of the Ponzi scheme on the lives of everyone involved: ill-fated staff, investors and Alkaitis’ longtime, beautiful partner, Vincent. Ghosts crop up throughout the novel…mostly by those dogged with guilt.

Vincent was the most compelling character in the story. She was a social chameleon tending bar at the luxurious Hotel Caitte on Vancouver Island where she met and (with ease) slipped into a life of luxury with Jonathan Alkaitis…a place she called, “the kingdom of money.”

Considering the current pandemic crisis and the way our lives have now been severely altered, Mandel’s mesmerizing novel felt topical. Highly Recommended!
Profile Image for John Mauro.
Author 5 books411 followers
November 14, 2022
Pandemic fiction is so 2014.

"Station Eleven" is Emily St. John Mandel's 2014 dystopian masterpiece about a group of peripatetic actors and musicians in a post-pandemic world where most of humanity has been wiped out by a swine flu. With "The Glass Hotel," Emily St. John Mandel raises the bar on her writing craft while focusing on a manmade disaster of smaller scale, viz., a Bernie Madoff-style Ponzi scheme.

"The Glass Hotel" is an ingeniously crafted novel driven more by character development than by its highly nonlinear plot. As we get to know the characters involved with the Ponzi scheme, both victims and perpetrators, we are given carefully placed clues about the overarching scheme and its personal implications for each of the characters.

I thoroughly enjoyed piecing together this masterfully planned puzzle while simultaneously learning about the broad cast of characters, who are all well developed.

The realistic portrayal of financial greed and the elaborately constructed Ponzi scheme were both realistic and thought-provoking. But I especially enjoyed the crossover into magical realism at the end of the book, which heightened the emotional impact of the book as a whole.

Emily St. John Mandel has established herself as one of the most brilliant authors of her generation. I look forward to many more ingeniously delightful novels from her in the future.
Profile Image for Ron Charles.
1,035 reviews48.5k followers
March 24, 2020
Bad timing: Emily St. John Mandel is releasing a novel in the middle of a pandemic that has shuttered libraries and bookstores across the country.

At least Mandel knows what she’s getting into. Her previous novel, “Station Eleven,” described the world decimated by a deadly virus. Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and a finalist for a National Book Award, “Station Eleven” was terrifically successful when it appeared in 2014, and this month it’s showing up on everybody’s grim coronavirus reading lists.

To watch the Totally Hip Video Book Review of this novel, click here.

But don’t let that dystopian classic overshadow her new novel, “The Glass Hotel.” In this story, Mandel focuses on a different kind of apocalypse: Her inspiration is Bernie Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme. The real pathogen this time around is deceit. Everyone in these pages is eager to wash their hands of culpability, but the wreckage keeps spreading, infecting an ever-widening group of friends and colleagues.

“The Glass Hotel” may be the perfect novel for your survival bunker. It remains freshly mysterious despite its self-spoiling plot. Mandel is always casually revealing future turns of success or demise in ways that only pique our curiosity. Indeed, the fate of the story’s heroine appears in. . . .

To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post:
Profile Image for Holly  B (Short break!).
815 reviews1,874 followers
September 13, 2021

Mixed feelings because I was pulled into the story (at least some of the story), but it meanders off the trail so much that I felt disconnected. Choppy waters ahead..... Is any of this going to make some kind of sense?!

The writing on the glass window, well I didn't find it so scary. Why was everyone so upset about it? I don't get it.

I can see why so many enjoy her writing, the author has a way with words and creativity. I wanted more though, and someone to like, root for and there wasn't anyone, not even a ghost.

Many loved this one, I'm sad I didn't connect more. Check out the five star reviews.

I'm still planning on reading Station Eleven at some point.

Thanks Melissa for discussing this one with me!

Library loan/ Read in Sept 2021

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