Third Hotel (van den Berg) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
There's no denying [van den Berg's] skill at rendering this material; her sentences, at their best, are extraordinarily lucid.… These descriptive passages may come off to some readers as clutter, but they serve to ground a story that sometimes feels elusive and vague.The novel’s intellectual and philosophical excursions are less successful, to my mind, than its concrete descriptions.… Read [The Third Hotel] as the inscrutable future cult classic it probably is, and let yourself be carried along by its twisting, unsettling currents.
J. Robert Lennon - New York Times Book Review


There’s Borges and Bolaño, Kafka and Cortázar, Modiano and Murakami, and now Laura van den Berg. The acclaimed author of two story collections and a novel, van den Berg has always been good, but with The Third Hotel she’s become fantastic—in every sense of the word.… The fantastic plot is elevated by van den Berg’s fantastic writing and unique twists of language.… These sentences aren’t flourishes of showoff; nothing unoriginal slips by in this flawless novel… so much subtextual lava is coursing under the surface of every page of The Third Hotel that the book feels like it’s going to erupt in your hands.
Randy Rosenthal - Washington Post


Laura van den Berg is an artist of the uncanny. As with some surrealist painting, devour her work quickly and the trick will not snag.… Clare’s eerie perceptional wobbles are conjured beautifully by van den Berg, who sees like a painter and narrates like a crime reporter. To read The Third Hotel sometimes feels like following a character based on Joan Didion sinking deeper into a universe whose laws were written by Patricia Highsmith.… We are anchored by loss, set free by love, cliches tell us. What, this exquisitely written book asks, if it’s the opposite? In doing so van den Berg drives home an inversion far scarier than any zombie film.
John Freeman - Boston Globe


It's a quicksilver novel—just when you think you have a possible grip on its plot and meaning, it slithers out of grasp. The Third Hotel works its magic at the level of the subconscious, where nightmares are made.
Jenny Shank - Dallas Morning News


Reading Laura van den Berg's disquieting new novel, The Third Hotel, is akin to walking out of a dark movie theater into bright sunlight. Part of you is still living in a cinematic dreamscape. The real world is what's imaginary.… [T]he writing is lovely and fluid. She is comfortable with ambiguity, and The Third Hotel isn't intent on resolution. It reminds me of another hotel, that one in California, where "you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave." Haunting.
Nancy Pate - Minneapolis Star Tribune


The Third Hotel contains all of the ingredients for a classic work of horror.… Not every author can make a character both fly through supernatural events and remain grounded in a place the way van den Berg does with Clare. The strength of van den Berg’s storytelling comes from Clare’s attempts to solve the mystery of why Richard has hunkered down in a different country, layered with grief from back home that continues to haunt her. She’s a “final girl” whose denouement horrifies in a modern, bloodless way.
Bethanne Patrick - Time


Van Den Berg doesn't do neatness. She does elegance. She writes with off-kilter beauty and absolute relaxation; the less peaceful a sentence should be, the more peaceful it is.… The Third Hotel is a novel that operates in symbols and layers, which means you can read it however you like. There's no one ending, no right answer, and as a result, it will take away your internal compass. It will unmoor you, send you wobbling around your house in a haze. It will slide some eels under your skin. My recommendation? Let it. We can all stand to learn some new truths.
Lily Meyer - NPR.org


Eerie and uncanny, layered and sharp.… Though subtly drawn, what it means to be a woman becomes just as central to The Third Hotel as the mystery of Richard’s reappearance. Powerful and atmospheric, van den Berg’s novel portrays a haunting descent into grief and the mysteries we can’t quite solve while advancing a thought-provoking exploration of marriage, misogyny, and the loneliness that lurks within unwavering privacy.
Lauren Sarazen - Los Angeles Review of Books


A twisty exploration of grief and perception as well as the ways in which we contribute to our own undoing.
Julia Pierpont - Oprah Magazine


Strange, unsettling, and profound from start to finish, The Third Hotel is a book teeming with the kind of chaos that can only emanate from the mind. It could be fairly described as a meditation on grief, or marriage, or travel; fresh insights on each materialize regularly, at enviable levels of nuance.… [van den Berg] gets under your skin and hits bone. Hers is a terror tale as mercurial as life, veering between the grisly and the gentle.… The Third Hotel ultimately probes one woman’s reaction to the senseless.
David Canfield - Entertainment Weekly


[M]ysterious and engrossing.… Toying with horror tropes and conventions …van den Berg turns Clare’s journey into a dreamlike exploration of grief. This is a potent novel about life, death, and the afterlife.
Publishers Weekly


A surreal meditation on grief and loss.… Atmospheric descriptions of Cuba, and references to horror-film tropes… are integrated throughout, providing additional layers of richness. Verdict:… this novel has a dreamlike quality that resists narrative structure and logic. —Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis
Library Journal


Brooding, often-surreal, funerally bemusing …van den Berg's entrancing, gorgeously enigmatic tale dramatizes the narcosis of grief.
Booklist


The line between the real and the imagined is forever blurry, and the result of all that ambiguity is both moving and unsettling.Gorgeously haunting and wholly original; a novel that rewards patience.
Kirkus Reviews

Site by BOOM Boom Supercreative

LitLovers © 2020