The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel [X/10]

Half siblings, one a wastrel, the other an opportunist; a stunning hotel unreachable on an island; a Ponzi scheme merchant; and the tumbling years after it all falls apart. “The Glass Hotel” is a time-shifting puzzle of a plot formed from a number of characters questing through the world. Emily St. John Mandel is a smooth, hypnotic stylist and this novel melts through the hours like one of E. L. Doctorow’s masterpieces. It’s an ambiguous, almost moral fable about bonds and unforeseen consequences, about fate and luck, about wealth and greed. For all of its many strengths, I had a sense as the end, the climax if you like, approached, that the foundational plot lacked drama. All the scenes of “The Glass Hotel” reeked of tension, yet the ker-chink of plot completion never came. Most enjoyable, nonetheless.

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