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The Guest Room

A Novel
Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,090 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls comes the spellbinding tale of a party gone horribly wrong: Two men lie dead in a suburban living room, two women are on the run from police, and a marriage is ripping apart at the seams.

When Kristin Chapman agrees to let her husband, Richard, host his brother's bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery. She brings their young daughter to Manhattan for the evening, leaving her Westchester home to the men and their hired entertainment. What she does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, her husband sharing a dangerously intimate moment in the guest room, and two women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night.

In the aftermath, Kristin and Richard's life rapidly spirals into nightmare. The police throw them out of their home, now a crime scene; Richard's investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave; and Kristin is unsure if she can forgive her husband for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, faces a much graver danger. In one breathless, violent night, she is free, running to escape the police who will arrest her and the gangsters who will kill her in a heartbeat.

A captivating, chilling story about shame and scandal, The Guest Room is a riveting novel from one of our greatest storytellers.

©2016 Chris Bohjalian (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Heartbreaking.... Unexpected and refreshing...I won't give away of the surprising twists and turns that The Guest Room takes on the path to Bohjalian's daring conclusion; I'll only note that much of the pleasure that comes from reading any well-constructed narrative lies in trying to anticipate how the author will write himself out of seemingly inescapable corners. But here, for a change, we also have a novelist who seems more concerned with examining and dramatizing a much more universal question: whether, in the end, any amount of love or compassion, retreat or nobility or forgiveness, can overcome the remorseless workings of evil." (Skip Horack, The San Francisco Chronicle)

"The Guest Room [has] an edge-of-the-seat momentum that propels the reader straight to the last page.... For those who value the well-researched novel, the author's 18th book will please.... Promises to enlighten and entertain." (Anita Shreve, The Washington Post)

"The book's real throbbing heart is Anahit, an aspiring young dancer from Armenia.... The narrative's frequent somersaults from Anahit's devastating backstory to the Chapman family's more sheltered world is a remarkable artistic feat...a steely exploration of the very human cost of bachelor parties and other games of male pleasure." (Eliot Schrefer, USA Today)

“Within the first few pages of The Guest Room, the latest novel by prolific author Chris Bohjalian, the booze-fueled bacchanalia that began as the fulfillment of men’s fantasies turns into a Helter-Skelter-like nightmare.... Bohjalian, whose books often explore the contrast between surface lightness and the darkness that lies below, takes on upper-middle class America in this novel, ripping apart any illusion of safety or moral high ground in a headlong collision between the comforting rituals of suburbia and the viciousness of the Russian mob.... [Bohjalian is] at his best in The Guest Room, one of his most compelling books so far, combining an explosive premise, a timely social topic, and fast-paced storytelling with a purpose." (Amy Driscoll, The Miami Herald)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Barbara
  • Pennsylvania,USA
  • 02-07-16

Bohjalian's best one yet

Any additional comments?

This book explores the world of sex slaves in a very believable story of a bachelor party gone wrong. Couldn't stop listening...well done, believable, face paced....great job Chris Bohjalian!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Taryn
  • Suffern, NY, United States
  • 12-06-17

Kept my interest

I enjoyed listening to this book. I like Bohjalian's work and that may be part of the reason for my positive review. Others have said it wasn't original, but I disagree. I felt that the main characters were well written and the moral aspects of the situation explored in depth. How do we get into a particular situation we never expected? How does one wrong move change our lives forever? I thought the insight into human trafficking was heartbreaking. The ending was not what I expected. In my opinion this was worth my time and credits. #dark #gritty #suspensful #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Mesmerizing

I really enjoyed this book. There is a great bond you form with the characters.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Reads like a "matter of fact narrative"

This book had no real "denouement" as the only and most significant conflict happens right away, then you are left waiting and waiting for something, or anything else as interesting to occur, but it doesn't. The end is not justifiable at all and is almost disconnected from the whole point of the story (which I am still unsure of what that is exactly) in fact I was shocked at how disconnected and almost irrelevant the ending was based on all of the great and interesting detail provided about the characters throughout the book.The whole time you see potential and wait for the conflict and the purpose but it just never comes. There is just soooo much background information about the main characters and their life stories that end up not contributing to the story as a whole at all.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lorri H
  • denver, co United States
  • 02-24-16

good listen.

i loved the voices with accents, great story line with different character point of views.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Carol
  • LARCHMONT, NY, United States
  • 02-09-16

Riveting

Any additional comments?

I have loved all of Bohjalin's books. This one, set in Bronxville and Manhattan, was particularly interesting not only for his descriptions but for his plot AND characterizations. I read it in two days....

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Julie
  • United States
  • 01-07-16

Blah, Blah, Blah

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Just an average story. I am sorry to have, again wasted my money. I rely on all audible land
reviews. I have listened to so many audio books that average just doesnt hold my attention anymore. The premise promised a great story. Again, average, blah, blah, blah. Couldnt get me to care about the charactors even though they had a sad story.

19 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Struggled with narration

I loved Midwives and wanted to love this but I just didn't. I think the story was good, but Alexandra's narrator really kept me from connecting more with her character. The narrator's tone and inflection were really irritating for me. I would often cringe or find myself not really listening to her parts of the story, which is not ideal considering she's a main character. Consider reading this one instead. I wish I had.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Awful

Hated the narrator and hated that it was about a teen sex slaves - I really didn’t like it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Save your money!

This was honestly one of the worst books I have read (well- listened to) the story was like that of a high school student having his first go at a short story that accidentally dragged into a novel. It was horrid writing and the narration was just as miserable. I almost turned it off a million times but kept sticking it out through every reference of “dude” anticipating a “twist” or ANYTHING to make this a book that someone wanted to actually PUBLISH.... but nothing. I want all those wasted hours back. Ugh.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Larissa
  • 02-08-16

The guest room

Way to much swearing! Story line was ok, there was definitely room for improvement. Swearing detracted from the story.