Book review – Strange Hotel by Eimear McBride
This is a slim novel. But the slender prose is delectable. The book becomes like a tasting menu, multiple brief courses of exquisite delicacy.
The story tells of numerous nights in various hotels by a woman we learn little about. Each night’s stay is… well, not exactly a chapter as the whole book just runs on through… a section, tale, mini story. They are broken up by a list of global locations she stays in, and the essence of this history is whether or not she spends each night with a man in her bed. Sometimes she enjoys an encounter with a stranger. Sometimes she doesn’t enjoy it. Sometimes, she doesn’t let him in. Sometimes she simply remains alone, aloof and happy with that.
I was rather frustrated by the lack of any actual narrative, and I was never really sure what I learnt about our heroine. It was as if I merely had a series of fleeting encounters with her and then she was gone. However, my frustrations at the lack of clarity or depth of my relationship with her were superseded by the verbal delight of the experiences. I cherish the memories of those nights.