A Literary Grand Hotel Get-Away
Updated: Oct 6
Writers really live in the mind and in hotels of the soul. ~ Edna O’Brien
It feels like the world is upside down right now...travel may be unsafe, dining out is risky and politics are a true puzzle. It seems like the perfect time to get away. But, with a pandemic outside our doors, that is not so easy to do.
How about a literary holiday? Here are five novels set in grand hotels to give you that special pampered feeling you can have at a hotel and also give you an imaginary way to get away from it all.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count's endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving
One of Irving's sweeping modern-Dickensian novels, it follows the various dramas of a family in two separate hotels, each called the Hotel New Hampshire. "A hectic gaudy saga with the verve of a Marx Brothers movie."—The New York Times Book Review
A Room With A View by E. M. Forster
In A Room With a View, E. M. Forster’s uses a hotel to assemble his characters, in this case English people visiting Italy. The room in question is in the Pensione Bertolini in Florence, and the view is of the Arno River. The city of Florence is beautifully detailed.
The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff
A love letter to England and its literary heritage, written by a Manhattanite who isn’t afraid to speak her mind (or tell a British barman how to make a real American martini), The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street is an endearing account of two wildly different worlds colliding; it’s an outsider’s witty, vibrant portrait of idiosyncratic British culture at its best, as well as a profound commentary about the written word’s power to sustain us, transport us, and unite us.
The Shining by Stephen King
Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister.