The Glass Hotel

Hardcover, 301 pages

Published Oct. 3, 2020 by Knopf.

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4 stars (3 reviews)

Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star lodging on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. On the night she meets Jonathan Alkaitis, a hooded figure scrawls a message on the lobby’s glass wall: Why don’t you swallow broken glass. High above Manhattan, a greater crime is committed: Alkaitis is running an international Ponzi scheme, moving imaginary sums of money through clients’ accounts. When the financial empire collapses, it obliterates countless fortunes and devastates lives. Vincent, who had been posing as Jonathan’s wife, walks away into the night. Years later, a victim of the fraud is hired to investigate a strange occurrence: a woman has seemingly vanished from the deck of a container ship between ports of call.

In this captivating story of crisis and survival, Emily St. John Mandel takes readers through often hidden landscapes: campgrounds for the near-homeless, underground electronica clubs, the business of international shipping, …

12 editions

Review of 'The Glass Hotel' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Great story, characters, settings & writing. Among other things, I really enjoyed the exploration of liminal spaces, of haunting/being haunted, and of life vs counterlife ... and characters imagining alternate paths unfolding if they had done something different. Also interesting ideas about the different "countries" we inhabit - money, sickness, misfortune, shadow, etc. Now I'm really looking forward to reading Sea of Tranquility.

Sad, Poignant, Beautiful

5 stars

This book is so beautiful, so insightful, and so sad. This story is a deep-dive into the different worlds that we can often fall into. It's an examination of wealth, poverty, addiction, guilt/shame, stealing to get by, making art for art's sake, making art for ambition's sake, greed, dread, and so many more things.

As someone whose family was significantly impacted by the 2008 financial crisis (and let's be honest, whose wasn't), I found that entering back into the world of watching white collar criminals squirm was like a warm blanket. There are a few scenes in the book where various financial criminals are overtaken by waves of dread and it felt like such a balm to my soul to experience their suffering as a reader and then to remove myself back into the cozy world of my own little reading nook.

The Glass Hotel is not a feel-good book, …


  • Mystery
  • Crime