Automotive Holiday Deals Up to 50% Off Select Books Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Prime Music Sweepstakes egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Grocery Gifts for Her Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Cyber Monday Deals Nintendo Digital Games Outdoors Gift Guide on HTL
Hotel Honolulu: A Novel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: GOOD (Cover shows shelf/time wear, manly on tips and corners of spine. Ex-Library book with stamps and stickers... Text is Very Good)...ALL Purchases Guaranteed...Working diligently to retain our 100% Feedback rating with you!... If we fail or miss-it , PLEASE tell us FIRST... We PROMISE Fast Refund or Adjustment...
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Hotel Honolulu Hardcover – May 9, 2001

82 customer reviews

See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$8.49 $0.01

Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Scrappy, satiric and frowsily exotic, this loosely constructed novel of debauchery and frustrated ambition in present-day Hawaii debunks the myth of the island as a vacationer's paradise. The episodic narrative is presided over by two protagonists: the unnamed narrator, a has-been writer who leaves the mainland to manage the seedy Hotel Honolulu, and raucous millionaire Buddy Hamstra, the hotel's owner and former manager, who fired himself to give the narrator his job. The narrator is at once amused and moved by Buddy, "a big, blaspheming, doggy-eyed man in drooping shorts," who is as reckless in his personal life as he is in his business dealings. He hires the writer despite his lack of qualifications, and the writer returns the favor in loyalty and affection, acting as witness to Buddy's flamboyant decline. As the hotel's manager, the writer comes to know a succession of downtrodden travelers and Hawaii residents, each more eccentric than the next. Typical are a wealthy lawyer whose amassed fortune does not bring him happiness; a past-her-prime gossip columnist involved in a love triangle with her bisexual son and her son's male lover; and a man who is obsessed with a woman he meets through the personals. Theroux, never one to tread lightly, often portrays native Hawaiians including the writer's wife as simpleminded, craven souls. But he is an equal-opportunity satirist, skewering all his characters except perhaps his alter-ego narrator and Leon Edel, the real-life biographer of Henry James, who makes an extended, unlikely cameo appearance. The lack of conventional plot and the dreariness of life at Hotel Honolulu make the narrative drag at times, but Theroux's ear and eye are as sharp as ever, his prose as clean and supple. (May)Forecast: A nine-city author tour kicks off a promotional blitz for Hotel Honolulu, which includes a sweepstakes with a trip to Hawaii as prize. More carefully worked than Kowloon Tong, Theroux's last novel, and more familiar in setting, this may be one of the part-time Hawaii resident's better selling efforts.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Every guest at this hotel has a story, and we get to hear them all including that of the new manager, a down-on-his-luck kind of guy whose life is taken over by his job.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; First Edition edition (May 9, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618095012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618095018
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,398,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Theroux's highly acclaimed novels include Blinding Light, Hotel Honolulu, My Other Life, Kowloon Tong, and The Mosquito Coast. His renowned travel books include Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Dark Star Safari, Riding the Iron Rooster, The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, and The Happy Isles of Oceania. He lives in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
There's a great premise for this novel by Paul Theroux. The narrator is an unnamed middle-aged writer who takes a job as a manager of a small seedy hotel in Honolulu. What follows is a book full of overlapping stories about the constant parade of guests and locals and a fresh look at what Hawaii is like by the New England-born author who now makes Hawaii his part-time home.
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.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Randall Neustaedter on April 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Paul Theroux loves to play the intelligent, uninvolved raconteur, the perpetual, if distant, visitor. In his inimical style of episodic narration he tells the stories of those characters he meets, or he writes his fantasies about them (read sexual). In Hotel Honolulu he continues the witty, winking entertainment he began in his fictional autobiographies My Secret History and My Other Life, all viewed from his superior stance. Now that he is transplanted from England to Hawaii, the flavor is Polynesian, but the sly, voyeuristic prose the same. No other autor carries the reader along so effortlessly, so superbly, and on such a smooth amusement ride. No literati populate this world, however, a world of prostitutes, con men, complainers, and calculating crones.
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.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By L. Carroll on October 21, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I went to Hawai'i I hadn't yet read this book. I got home and picked it up to read. Now that I've read it I'm glad I got to go to visit first. I have reflected on the stories Theroux tells and I am able to appreciate Honolulu in a way I probably couldn't while I was there. I recognized so many of the people Theroux described and saw myself in them as well. I had to wonder how much of this novel was really fictional; it was far too easy to imagine that these things had happened. (Especially after getting to know some of the people who do live in Honolulu.)
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).
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Foster on July 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Irreverant and supercilious as always, humorous travel chronicler Paul Theroux gives us a hilarious, eerily insightful account of the sleazy underbelly of "America's tropical paradise," as viewed through the eyes of a presumably fictional profligate, sometime novelist/sometime hotelier wearing racist-tinted sunglasses. As in Theroux's other novels, the self-indulgent exaggeration of the human condition tells us far more about the author than the characters he portrays. Like the people in his travel essays, the staff, guests, relatives, and hangers-on of the Hotel Honolulu are neither protagonists nor antagonists, but skillfully dialogued cardboard cut-outs of laughable humanity, reminding us what pitiful blobs of protoplasm we really are. The arrogant air of superiority Theroux often exudes in his travel essays is bequeathed to the morose, self-searching personality of the egotistical narrator. Theroux's novels have a way of starting out with brilliant, incisive prose and slumping maddenly into a lethargic din. He often seems to struggle with his prose, but despite its flaws, "Hotel Honolulu" is a fun read. If your image of Hawaii is plastic bobbing-head hula-dancer dashboard ornaments and imitation plastic flower leis, this book will change forever the way you think about "America's tropical paradise."
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Isis on July 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Hotel Honolulu takes the reader on a trip to Hawaii that you probably would never have ever made on your own. Paul Theroux's fiction makes you feel like you've really been somewhere and gotten to meet some people and really know them. And to the people who thought he was being critical, or giving an inaccurate portrayal of the culture, perhaps they needed to look a little deeper. Marginal members of society deserve to be described, also. No culture is ever so monolitic that it can ever be portrayed "accurately" for all of its members. I lived in Hawaii for 3 years, and had no problem with Paul's setting. Wasn't the spelling supposed to be humorous, anyway? Unfortunately, the sexual objectification and slavery of women is all too accurate. I Always enjoy additional view's of the author's "mask".
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?