Review: Hotel World

Hotel World by Ali Smith
238 pages
Published by Anchor Books (Random House), 2001
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Re-readability: Quick, light, and captivating, this book would be easy to dive back into someday.


Reviewed by Pete

Ali Smith’s Hotel World is signature Smith—experimental and clever while being easy to read. In Hotel World, we follow five people whose lives overlap for a brief moment. The centerpiece of the story is Sara Wilby, who has fallen down a dumbwaiter shaft to her death.

Smith’s writing is somehow easy to digest while always making clever observations and saying things in new ways. Her prose ranges from poetic to factual, and each chapter has its own style and feel. She shifts gears seamlessly; the book’s five chapters could almost be read in any order.

The book’s only misstep, in my opinion, is a stream-of-consciousness chapter that has little punctuation. It was a bit exhausting to process.

Hotel World is a compact little story with a lot to say. If you haven’t read Ali Smith, this is a great place to start, though it’s hard to go wrong with her.

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