The Glass Hotel: Emily St. John Mandel


Emily St. John Mandel’s The Glass Hotel tells the non-linear stories of a long con gone wrong, a beautiful young woman’s disappearance, and these stories’ ground zero – the hotel on an isolated island in British Columbia.

Thanks to A.A. Knopf for the free book!

I would usually attempt to provide more details about the plot here, but – and you’ll understand once you read – it would be very hard to describe the plot of this book. So I’ll let you be surprised!

Content Warning

Please take caution while reading The Glass Hotel if any of the following topics may trigger you:

  • Death
  • Classism

My Thoughts

What a curious, unique book The Glass Hotel is. Let’s start off by making very clear that this is not Station Eleven. And it’s not supposed to be. While this is a wholly original novel, make no mistake: this book is classic Mandel – haunting, ethereal, and deeply atmospheric.

Much of the story is spent on a character study of our leading lady, Vincent. We follow her life, at times from a great distance and at others close up and personal. I loved learning about Vincent and understanding the connections she has to each piece of the novel. Another huge part of the plot is implosion of a Ponzi scheme in New York. The depiction of this huge, disastrous event is so fascinating and is where the meat of the plot action takes place.

The Glass Hotel reminded me in some ways of The Dreamers. Ethereal and beautiful writing with relatively little in the way of plot. Don’t worry – no health crisis in this novel, although there are a few fun little callbacks to Station Eleven that you may catch. I recommend this novel to readers who place their emphasis on atmosphere and writing, rather than on plot. If you finish a novel and say to yourself “ugh, nothing happened in this book – I hated that,” you may well not enjoy this book. Personally, I deeply enjoyed the sometimes perplexing, always intriguing nature of this non-linear, character-driven novel.

Mandel does it again, and I will always feel the need to be sitting in a dark room filled with mahogany and rich leather couches while reading her exquisite novels.

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on The Glass Hotel. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the novel in the comments or at my Instagram @bookmarkedbya!

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