By a strange coincidence, when the cultural consumption task list was released I had been reading a novel made from a collection of short stories written by different authors. I’ve set it aside for a little while because I was a little bored of it and the joy of the chapters being standalone short stories that build to a complete story meant that I could move on to another book for a little while.
The book is Finbar’s Hotel and was devised and edited by Dermot Bolger. Authors include Dermot Bolger, Roddy Doyle, Anne Enright, Hugo Hamilton, Jennifer Johnston, Joseph O’Connor, and Colm Tóibíb.
‘The hotel has stood in Dublin’s quays since the ’20s, but its glory days have long since passed it by. It’s decrepit now – the haunt of weekend-breakers and tourists who don’t know any better. Most of the guests and staff we meet are escaping from something . . . The joy for the reader come from the ingenuity with which each successive writer picks up the baton, teasing unforeseen consequences from events in earlier chapters. The result is always funny and often profound’ John O’Connell, Time Out ‘Whoever is behind the middle-aged man facing his midlife crisis, a cat-napper trying to order an acceptable meal for his yowling victim or two sisters drunkenly disinterring their past, they all share a common sense of humour. That liking for witty one-liners, or for a contrariness which encourages a woman to tell a man picked up in the bar that she is a nun, is extremely funny’ Aisling Foster, The Times ‘Seven top-notch contributions and a genuine feeling of collective impulse . . . the result is not merely a proper novel, seamlessly executed and with discernible themes and patterns, but a very good novel indeed . . . The reader leaves Finbar’s decaying premises enthusing over the state of modern Irish writing’ D. J. Taylor, Spectator ‘This is a very good work indeed . . . You should check out – or into – Finbar’s Hotel today’ John Dunne, Books Ireland
The book is an alright read, with the various authors holding my interest to different degrees. Overall I’m not too bothered what happens in the end.
My mum gave me this book to read. I have a network of friends and family who pass books along once they’ve read them. I like this as it provides me with a really eclectic mix of novels and autobiographies that I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen myself. It has been about two years since I last bought a book and I’ve still not gotten around to reading it as it’s on such a pile of pass-ons.