Karen Tei Yamashita has been honored with the American Book Award and Janet Heidinger Kafka Award. A stunning portrait of Asian Americans in 1960s and ’70s San Francisco, I Hotel is a remarkable collection of 10 related novellas. Touching on such topics as Japanese internment camps and the Marcos dictatorship, the book presents readers with characters of rich design.
©2010 Karen Tei Yamashita (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC
“[T]his powerful, deeply felt, and impeccably researched fiction is irresistibly evocative and overwhelming in every sense.” (Publishers Weekly)
Because this is a collection of 10 novellas that have overlapping characters, there were times when I wish I had an opportunity to look at the table of contents or a diagram of the relationship of all the characters. There were just so many characters that without the addition of seeing their names and roles in writing, I sometimes got lost and felt I was missing an important link that would add to the significance of the story.
The individual novellas didn't have titles and the only way I knew we were switching novellas was when the main narrator changed. I found this somewhat frustrating because I felt lost in the story.
However, besides that, this was one of the best books I have read in years. I am in awe of how Yamashita told these stories with the backdrop of the counter culture of the 1960s and 70s. She captures the violence, the sit-ins, the demonstrations, and through her attention to detail brings that period of San Francisco history to life in a way that no text book ever could.
Out of the 10 novellas, there were about two that I felt didn't live up to the other 8 but maybe that was because in the end I was listening to the book for several hours at time and may have just needed a listening break.
My other regret is that I didn't have a reading buddy for this book. It's a book that is ideal for a book club because it makes us look at ourselves in a way that is not always pleasant. And I would love to hear how other people reacted to the story, the history and the message of I Hotel.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.