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Hotel World
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About the Author

Ali Smith was born in Inverness in 1962. She is the author of Free Love and Other Stories, Like, Other Stories and Other Stories, Hotel World, The Whole Story and Other Stories, The Accidental, Girl Meets Boy, The First Person and Other Stories, There but for the, Artful, How to be both, and Public library and other stories. Hotel World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize and The Accidental was shortlisted for the Man Booker and the Orange Prize. How to be both won the Baileys Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize and the Costa Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Man Booker and the Folio Prize. Ali Smith lives in Cambridge and her next novel is forthcoming in 2016.

Reviews

A heartfelt and introspective ghost story, Hotel World begins at the end and works backward and then meanders some in between. Readers first witness the accidental death of Sara Wilby, a hotel chambermaid who is also the narrator of the story. In an attempt to make sense of her demise, she comes back as an apparition at her own funeral and relives earlier events. While Sara's parents enter a catatonic state, her sister Clare is propelled by her grief into finding answers and reconciliation. She stakes out a spot near the hotel where she can sit daily and observe the commerce going on in the hotel and the nearby shops. So, too, does a homeless woman, Else, who begs for spare change. These and other characters come together in a tender, moving story of innocence, love, and kindness. This first novel was short-listed for the 2001 Orange Prize. Smith's beautiful, unpretentious writing mesmerizes. Highly recommended. Lisa Nussbaum, Dauphin Cty. Lib. Syst., Harrisburg, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

When it was published in the U.K. earlier this year, the latest offering from Scottish writer Smith (Free Love) was made an Orange Prize finalist and shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize. Featured are five women whose lives (and a death) overlap at the Global Hotel, a generic establishment in an unnamed city in England. The novel begins with Sara, a chambermaid who plummeted to her death in one of the hotel's dumbwaiters, as her ghost tries to recollect what it was like to be alive. Else, a homeless woman who sits on the concrete in front of the hotel, is invited by Lise, the receptionist, to stay for a free night. Penny, a freelance travel journalist thrown into the mix, looks for ways to curb her boredom and unwittingly helps Sara's sister, Clare, in her search for Sara's spirit. Smith expertly fuses humor and pathos throughout the novel. When Sara's ghost visits her corpse in the grave, it's none too happy to see her; when it won't answer her questions, she harasses it by singing songs from West End musicals. And when the disgruntled Lise lets Else into the hotel, she contemplates throwing in a free breakfast, as an extra snub to her employers. Smith's narrative style varies with each character and is generally exciting and quite successful, although some readers will find the acrobatics tiring. The connections she makes between the characters across class lines and even across the line between life and death are driven home in a beautifully lyrical coda. National advertising. (Jan. 15) Forecast: Although it probably won't create the kind of stir in the States that it did in England, Hotel World should do well if it scores a few prominent enthusiastic reviews. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"Ali Smith has got style, ideas, and punch. Read her."-Jeanette Winterson "Hotel World is everything a novel should be: disturbing, comforting, funny, challenging, sad, rude, beautiful.--The Independent (London) "In this voice from beyond the grave Ali Smith has created the perfect literary ghost...imbued with a powerful sense of wonder at the minutiae of everyday sensuality...and her beautiful, vivid descriptions are reinforced by a sharp, unsentimental tongue."-The Times (London) "Ali Smith's remarkable novel HOTEL WORLD....is a greatly appealing read. Smith is a gifted and meticulous architect of character and voice."--The Washington Post "The heart of Scottish writer Ali Smith may belong to good old-fashioned metaphysics -- to truth and beauty and love beyond the grave -- but her stylistic sensibility owes its punch to the Modernists. She's street-savy and poignant at once, with a brutal sense of irony and a wonderful feel for literary economy. There's a kind of stainless-steel clarity at the center of her fiction. . ."--The Boston Globe "HOTEL WORLD is that rare experiment, a novel with style to spare . . . despite all the tricks, all the tweaks of language and literature, what you remember about HOTEL WORLD is Smith's evocation of the anguish that results when a life ends, her rendering of the sadness at separating from the living world and the loneliness of staying behind. What a death. What a life. What a book."--San Antonio Express-News ." . . in Smith's hands, this slender plot serves as an excuse for a delightfully inventive, exuberant, fierce novel of which the real star is not the dead Sara, or any of the living characters, but the author's vivid, fluent, highly readable prose. HOTEL WORLD was a well-deserved finalist last year for two prestigious British prizes: the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize. . . . I can't begin to paraphrase all that this dazzling book conveys about humanity and mortality . . ." - Margot Livesey, Newsday "Ali who? Hotel what? Even for people who follow contemporary British literature, neither the name nor the title meant a lot. They do now. HOTEL WORLD makes a striking impression. It's a challenging, often bleak but affecting journey through the lives of four young women united by the death of another . . . What an introduction to Ali Smith. - Minneapolis Star Tribune "HOTEL WORLD is that rare experiment, a novel with style to spare . . . despite all the tricks, all the tweaks of language and literature, what you remember about HOTEL WORLD is Smith's evocation of the anguish that results when a life ends, her rendering of the sadness at separating from the living world and the loneliness of staying behind. What a death. What a life. What a book." -Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel "HOTEL WORLD is compelling . . . precisely because it suggests shifting yet coherent perspectives rather than simplifying lives into rigid, inert realities. Most impressively, Smith has mastered sophisticated literary techniques, which never intrude or bog down a delectable narrative of human perception and rumination. Apart from establishing Ali Smith as a novelist with the skills of a Martin Amis and Samuel Beckett combined, HOTEL WORLD is a damn good read." -The San Francisco Chronicle "Wonderfully inventive and boldly lyrical, HOTEL WORLD is an exhilarating read. A chambermaid careens to her death in a broken dumbwaiter, and her dissipating spirit sings a paean to earthly existence. . . . Newly published in the U.S., Ali Smith's thrilling meditation on life, transience, class, and the material world was an Orange Prize finalist and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize." -INSIDE BORDERS "Courageous and startling. I doubt that I shall read a tougher or more affecting novel this year." -Jim Crace Ali Smith has got style, ideas, and punch. Read her. Jeanette Winterson Hotel World is everything a novel should be: disturbing, comforting, funny, challenging, sad, rude, beautiful. The Independent (London) In this voice from beyond the grave Ali Smith has created the perfect literary ghost imbued with a powerful sense of wonder at the minutiae of everyday sensuality and her beautiful, vivid descriptions are reinforced by a sharp, unsentimental tongue. The Times (London) "Ali Smith's remarkable novel HOTEL WORLD....is a greatly appealing read. Smith is a gifted and meticulous architect of character and voice." The Washington Post "The heart of Scottish writer Ali Smith may belong to good old-fashioned metaphysics -- to truth and beauty and love beyond the grave -- but her stylistic sensibility owes its punch to the Modernists. She's street-savy and poignant at once, with a brutal sense of irony and a wonderful feel for literary economy. There's a kind of stainless-steel clarity at the center of her fiction. . ." The Boston Globe "HOTEL WORLD is that rare experiment, a novel with style to spare . . . despite all the tricks, all the tweaks of language and literature, what you remember about HOTEL WORLD is Smith's evocation of the anguish that results when a life ends, her rendering of the sadness at separating from the living world and the loneliness of staying behind. What a death. What a life. What a book."--San Antonio Express-News ." . . in Smith's hands, this slender plot serves as an excuse for a delightfully inventive, exuberant, fierce novel of which the real star is not the dead Sara, or any of the living characters, but the author's vivid, fluent, highly readable prose. HOTEL WORLD was a well-deserved finalist last year for two prestigious British prizes: the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize. . . . I can't begin to paraphrase all that this dazzling book conveys about humanity and mortality . . ." Margot Livesey, Newsday "Ali who? Hotel what? Even for people who follow contemporary British literature, neither the name nor the title meant a lot. They do now. HOTEL WORLD makes a striking impression. It's a challenging, often bleak but affecting journey through the lives of four young women united by the death of another . . . What an introduction to Ali Smith. Minneapolis Star Tribune "HOTEL WORLD is that rare experiment, a novel with style to spare . . . despite all the tricks, all the tweaks of language and literature, what you remember about HOTEL WORLD is Smith's evocation of the anguish that results when a life ends, her rendering of the sadness at separating from the living world and the loneliness of staying behind. What a death. What a life. What a book." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel "HOTEL WORLD is compelling . . . precisely because it suggests shifting yet coherent perspectives rather than simplifying lives into rigid, inert realities. Most impressively, Smith has mastered sophisticated literary techniques, which never intrude or bog down a delectable narrative of human perception and rumination. Apart from establishing Ali Smith as a novelist with the skills of a Martin Amis and Samuel Beckett combined, HOTEL WORLD is a damn good read." The San Francisco Chronicle "Wonderfully inventive and boldly lyrical, HOTEL WORLD is an exhilarating read. A chambermaid careens to her death in a broken dumbwaiter, and her dissipating spirit sings a paean to earthly existence. . . . Newly published in the U.S., Ali Smith's thrilling meditation on life, transience, class, and the material world was an Orange Prize finalist and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize." INSIDE BORDERS Courageous and startling. I doubt that I shall read a tougher or more affecting novel this year. Jim Crace"

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