Hotels of North America

Hotels of North America

A Novel

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
7
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A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: NPR, National Post
BEST BOOKS FOR GIFTING 2015: Vanity Fair

"This is Moody's best novel in many years...a book of irony and wit and heartbreak." --Dwight Garner, New York Times

From the acclaimed Rick Moody, a darkly comic portrait of a man who comes to life in the most unexpected of ways: through his online reviews.

Reginald Edward Morse is one of the top reviewers on RateYourLodging.com, where his many reviews reveal more than just details of hotels around the globe--they tell his life story.

The puzzle of Reginald's life comes together through reviews that comment upon his motivational speaking career, the dissolution of his marriage, the separation from his beloved daughter, and his devotion to an amour known only as "K." But when Reginald disappears, we are left with the fragments of a life--or at least the life he has carefully constructed--which writer Rick Moody must make sense of.

An inventive blurring of the lines between the real and the fabricated, Hotels of North America demonstrates Moody's mastery ability to push the bounds of the novel.
Publisher: New York :, Little, Brown and Company,, 2015.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780316178556
Characteristics: 198 pages

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t
TraceBond
Nov 14, 2017

Excellent book.. funny and dark.. mostly about USA.. the land of Trump & FaceBook.com is quite dark at the moment.

s
santiano9
May 03, 2016

While I found the first few "entries" entertaining, the premise got to be tiresome and I developed a dislike of the narrator. Did not finish.

3
3GingerKitties
Apr 29, 2016

I don't typically post reviews, but I feel somehow obligated since the book is, for the most part, a collection of them. I really enjoyed this book, at least in part because I have also traveled extensively, for business and pleasure, and can relate to many of the situations that Moody and/or Morse described. I found myself laughing out loud quite frequently and feeling that I wanted to share certain passages with friends. I don't know if it's possible to give higher praise. I will seek out Mr. Moody's other works. Enjoy!

m
mitchellpugh
Feb 29, 2016

I began working at a hotel a few months ago, and so I saw this book and thought it might be interesting and relevant. I was hoping to learn a thing or two to help me on my job. This never did happen. The book was dry and boring. It read like the author just took his diary entries and believed others would find his day to day experiences interesting and insightful. I am sorry to say, I didn't find them to be as such.

r
RuthAlice
Feb 07, 2016

Hotels of North America is very much a novel of our time—the time when people give more credence to the opinions of strangers on Yelp, Amazon, and Rotten Tomatoes—than to professional critics and reviewers. In this world that is constantly being reviewed online comes Reginald Edward Morse, or R.E. Morse, one of the top reviewers at RateYourLodging.com.

The book opens with a preface by Greenway Davies of a national association of hoteliers and ends with an afterword by the author, Rick Moody, creating the conceit that this is a collection of online hotel reviews submitted by Morse from January 2012 to March 2014. The hotel reviews are from different dates – going far back into the past, a nonlinear exploration of the hotels (and parking lots) at key moments in time, or more accurately, moments of intense emotion.

It is a sad story of a sad, lonely man filled with regret, remorse, even. There is a chapter on missing his daughter that wrecks the heart. Morse is acquainted with despair and loneliness, but there is something plucky about him, too, this man making a career out of motivational speaking when he is not very successful himself. He just keeps trying and sometimes finding delight and certainly finding a collaborator that suits him, the mysterious K. with whom he adulterates his marriage. Morse is down on his luck, a failure at high finance and yet he keeps plugging along, traveling all over, staying in so many hotels, some even more down on their luck than Morse.

The narrative, because it is unusually discursive hotel reviews, is a bit episodic. There are no cliff-hangers in hotel reviews. This made it easy to put down, like an anthology of short stories. You can read, feel satisfied with what you read, set it aside and pet the cat, cook lunch, do the dishes and all without a driving need to get back to the action. There is no action—not like that at least. There is some madcap kind of action, pretending illness to get out of paying a bill, jumping out a bedroom window to escape family counseling for an inconsolable family, that sort of thing.

4pawsThe writing is beautiful. There is much that could be quoted, filled with heartache, honesty, love and despair, but my favorites are the sections where Morse is a bit snarky and uses his sharpened pen to outline details with remorseless specificity. Here is one example, “The young man at the front desk looked there was no sorrow he had not experienced, and you could imagine that the pariahs of Waterbury–the convicted frauds and disgraced politicians, the collectors of serial-killer memorabilia, the embezzlers of church donations, those found guilty of exposing themselves, the mortuary assistants with necrophiliac tendencies, the sadistic gym teachers and embittered traffic cops–all settled here where they were in search of the loneliest night imaginable and nothing made them feel better than exceedingly loud smoove playing in the lobby.”

I enjoyed Hotels of America and recommend it highly unless you are in despair. In that case, it might kill you.

Cynthia_N Jan 20, 2016

I really did not enjoy this book at all.

l
lukasevansherman
Jan 15, 2016

Years ago, a review of one of Moody's books began by calling him "the worst writer of his generation." Perhaps as a riposte, the quote on the cover of his latest book proclaims him "one of our best writers" (Washington Post). The time when he was in contention for any kind of writer of his generation (best or worst) has long passed. I first encountered him after watching "The Ice Storm," which is adapted from his novel. I actually thought, in a rare turn, the film was far better than the book. Anyway, I agree with the other reviewer that Moody thinks he's clever and that's maybe the best thing you can say about this book: it's clever. In a very Nabokovian meta turn, Moody presents this as a series of online reviews about hotels that he (Rick Moody) has edited. They're not just about hotels, of course, but about life, love, and all those big things. I like the premise and Moody does express the melancholy of travel, but it becomes monotonous after a while. If you find McSweeney's stuff funny, you'll like this.

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