“The Third Hotel” by Laura Van Den Berg – book review

I liked The Third Hotel. At least, I think I did. 

Everything about this book makes me pause for thought. It’s both easy and difficult to read, clear cut and yet confusing. 

Just like the intro to this review, it’s conflicting and uncertain.


Clare is grieving after her husband was hit by a car, plus her father is dying – and it’s in this state of mind that she travels to attend a film conference in Cuba that her late husband, a film academic, had arranged.

It’s clear early on that Clare’s mental state is far from fine – but what’s uncertain is just how far gone she is, especially when she starts seeing her dead husband in Cuba and begins chasing him.

This is a strange novel that defies categorisation. It’s slightly surreal, certainly literary, with elements of a thriller, and it definitely tries to screw with the reader’s head. The older (and more boring) I become, the more literal I like my fiction – and yet The Third Hotel grew on me, especially after I finished it. The more I dwelled on it, the more impressed I was.  

As such, I’ll rephrase my first sentence: I liked this book a lot. 

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