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Publisher's Summary

A writer accepts a job as a manager of a low-rent hotel in Hawaii. He acts as a witness to the hotel's cast of characters, chronicling their stories and ultimately regaining his will to write.
©2007 Caryl Phillips; (P)2008 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"... somberly beautiful and lacerating ... Phillips [is] a virtuoso, prizewinning novelist with a biographer's avidity for fact ..." (Booklist), starred review

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Shockingly warped!

I have been an avid Theroux fan and can recommend any of his non fiction titles,but it seems a lot of his fiction is centered around and obssesion with incest and matters of an often sexual nature that I find somewhat disturbing.The parts where they delve into the mind of a prostitute are somehow intresting.I have often wondered what drives a woman to do such things.I think it is the stories of incest that are simply sickening.Of course these things do happen in real life and fiction mirrors real life.I just have to wonder why he must resort to such shocking methods to draw the readers intrest?There is some redeeming symbolism.The story about the step father with the hook for a hand was intresting.The ironies are also thought provoking.Fiction delves into the deep annuls of our minds,which can sometime harbor some serious psychological problems.I am just not sure I was prepared to see such a dark side in a book that is set in Hawaii.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lisa
  • Bayside, NY, United States
  • 01-09-09

Big Buzz Kill

I finally couldn't finish listening to this because it presents a very disturbing vision of humanity. The stories, one after another, are unrelentingly about people who are sad, lonely, gruesome, cruel, predatory, perverted, victimized, and on and on without amusement at their eccentricities or fondness for their foibles. I finally couldn't get through to the end to find out if there is some kind of redemption. Maybe it's that the main character gets back his will to write? So he wrote this mess.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim
  • Sapporo, N/A, Japan
  • 05-27-09

Theroux sees it how it is.

don't usually write reviews but (in fairness to this superb book) I owe it to Mr. Theroux. yes, it follows the lives of multiple characters connected through the Hotel Honolulu (as the previous reviewer said. No, they are not tragic as in the term 'victimized' would imply but real people that unless you are extremely sheltered, you would have met. What makes it great is that in their ordinary lives, they speak to us through the novel, & remind us of our fallibilities--but that we can get on with it all the same. Not everyone is looking for a light at the end of the tunnel and why should everyone have to? The characters and stories here represent this realism without justifying it, apologizing for it ...but it is nonetheless exceptionally entertaining and need not be read on a deep level.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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