Check It Out: The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Jan 11, 2021

This is Barb Gross with the Sioux City Public Library, and you’re listening to “Check it Out.” 

Today, I’m recommending The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel, an author you may remember for Station Eleven, the post apocalyptic novel that soared to the top of critics’ lists when it came out in 2014. In her new work, Mandel goes off in an entirely new direction, but with the same haunting intensity and intricate, interlocking characters and plot lines. 

The structure of this book, which also jumps around in time, makes it fascinating and hard to describe. Summarizing it is a bit like telling the story of a crossword puzzle. One of the main narratives is about Vincent, a young woman named for Edna St. Vincent Milay. She’s bartending at a remote luxury hotel in British Columbia, a structure with so many enormous windows it looks like it’s made of glass. There Vincent meets Jonathan Alkaitis, a wealthy man and con artist, and Vincent runs off with him to “the kingdom of money.” Alkaitis’s riches are derived from a Ponzi scheme. If his house-of-cards topples, several other characters will be crushed as well. 

  The Glass Hotel is almost a prequel to Station Eleven. The world feels on the brink of something horrific, and a few of Mandel’s characters actually go on to appear after the apocalypse in Station Eleven

Check out The Glass Hotel, by Emily St. John Mandel, and other great works of literary fiction, at the Sioux City Public Library. 

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Avery Brothers.