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Friday, July 12, 2013

The Pink Hotel: A Novel

I snatched up Anna Stothard's The Pink Hotel as soon as I heard about it--long listed for the Orange Prize and all. Here is what I found.

A young girl leaves her home in the UK after stealing her father's credit card to piece together who her mother was and how she died. She spends weeks bouncing around Los Angeles in search of answers to her questions. Her mother, Lily, abandoned her as a baby, and this may be the young girl's only chance to know her. Part of this is through the red suitcase stuffed with clothes, mementos, and cash she stole during Lily's wake at the Pink Hotel, where Lily and her husband were the proprietors. She may find that she is more like her mother than she ever thought.

What a winding, interesting, lucid take on the ever-classic coming-of-age story. Sobering yet whimsical. Honest yet potentially outlandish. Heartbreaking yet full of strength. Shocking yet addicting. I felt all of these things by the time I closed the back cover.

I can absolutely see why people have fallen in love with this novel. It's small and mighty with no emotions to spare. It's a tight little piece that covers only a swatch in time, but it adds up to such a large portion of this young woman's identity. I vacillated between pulling for her and wanting her caught. This novel caught such a wide range of emotions in its net that it's hard to put a finger on how the book made me feel as a whole. It, frankly, depended on the page. That is astounding writing skill.

Kindle version on left, hard copy on right.

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