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Hotel Honolulu: A Novel Paperback – May 15, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
- Marc Kloszewski, Indiana Free Lib., PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
There's a wide variety of characters and a loose non-conventional plot. Most memorable of all is the larger-than-life figure of millionaire and hotel owner Buddy Hamstra, a big man who over-indulges his appetites in life. There's the writer's wife and daughter as well as permanent and temporary hotel guests and employees. It's a collection of vignettes interwoven with reoccurring themes and finely developed people. It's big and sprawling and full of pathos and humor, small portraits of human nature focusing on the themes of love and death.
I found myself drawn into it, enjoying the author's sharp observations and finding myself wanting to laugh out loud. How each character views this world is fascinating and the writer dares to ridicule it all. There's a power in the book that kept me reading in spite of the meandering pace. It's sad and funny and very human all at the same time as it willingly explores such topics such as ethnic tensions and physical disabilities. It might not always be a flattering picture of a place we sometimes think of as paradise, but it sure does seem real, as the characters grope and blunder along in their lives below a constantly shining Hawaiian sun. I just loved the experience of reading this book. Definitely recommended.
If readers are hoping for plot, try Theroux's masterful sci-fi story O-Zone, or the bizarre sexual deviant thriller Chicago Loop, ore even the anti-establishment raves Milroy the Magician or Mosquito Coast. Discover Paul Theroux, a truly great writer, a mastermid who can take his reader on a funfilled ride of literary loops and thrills that leave you breathless at the feats of prose prowess and always wanting more.
Having grown up near a tourist destination this book give me an appreciation for those who have to deal with tourists for a living; it also gave me several insights into the human condition.
I would hand this book to anyone who is planning to travel (and not just to Hawai'i).
Ultimately, however, this novel was a disappointment to me. Set in a 3rd-rate hotel in Honolulu, it has the characters and setting of a novel (and is called a novel on the cover), but it is so lacking in any sort of unifying plot, that it's not even possible to write a plot summary. The huge cast of characters has only one thing in common--they all live and/or work at the Hotel Honolulu. While some characters are complete enough that they could have been worked into a wonderful collection of short stories, others are seen only in tiny, three- or four-page vignettes and add nothing significant. Very much like the author, the narrator is a writer who has had a failed marriage and difficult divorce in England and who has come to Hawaii hoping to escape his bad memories and the pressures of the writing life. He likes Hawaii "because it [is] a void"--almost no one recognizes his name, and those who do have not read his books. He works as the manager of the Hotel Honolulu.
Distressingly, this fragmented book is shockingly mean-spirited in tone, going way beyond good-humored satire, and demeaning almost every aspect of Hawaii, its people, and its culture, while also taking pokes at some American icons. Virtually every woman in the book either is or has been a prostitute. All are dimwits.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have read other books by Theroux that I loved, this is why I bought this book. I was amazed that the same author had written this book as the others. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Colleen Fitzpatrick
This is a literary romp through a hotel filled with colorful characters. Past morality, beyond facades, this books moves you straight into humanity; painted in comedy and tragedy. Read morePublished 3 months ago by K. Lundgren
Enjoyable book. I really got into this books characters. Being a "Haole" myself, I learned many things about Polynesian/ Hawaiian culture I hadn't known.Published 4 months ago by calicorock
i have loved this book for almost twenty years i think. just reread it on Kindle and it still holds up. great characters. Theroux is a genius even at comedy.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Hotel Honolulu took me back home...as a visitor fitted with the eyes, ears and sensate of a middle-age resident "howlie" (he wrote a book!), the hotel's new manager. Read morePublished 6 months ago by D.Beyer
I have devoured every book he's written and perhaps a few several times. My background is anthropology so I find his honesty and perceptions of cultures refreshing. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Rose Mueller