Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780618095018, 432pp.
Publication Date: May 1, 2001
Like the Canterbury pilgrims, every guest in this eighty-room hotel has come in search of something -- sun, love, happiness, unnamable longing -- and everyone has a story. Honeymooners, vacationers, wanderers, mythomaniacs, soldiers, and families all land at the Hotel Honolulu. But the hotel is as suited to being a crime scene as a love nest. Fortunately, our keen-eyed narrator, a writer down on his luck, is there to relate all the comings and goings. He's lost money, friends, house, and family, and he has no experience running a hotel. But all that doesn't stop Buddy, the bloated, boozy hotel owner -- the last of a dying breed -- from signing him on as manager. It isn't long before the hotel expands to encompass the narrator's whole world. His original plan of escape from a life of the mind becomes something altogether different: a way to return to the world he left, the world of imagined life.
No one but Paul Theroux could write this romp of a book, with its acutely drawn characters and canny insights into a place that is often viewed as a simple island paradise. In this unforgettable novel, Theroux shows us a funny, languid, louche floating world, island style. This is the essence of Hawaii as it has never been depicted, and it is also the heart of America.
"a delightful, loose-limbed riff of a novel...full of Theroux's sharp wit, unashamed crankiness, pungent observations and surprising insights." The Seattle Times
"a cunningly assembled affair...'Hotel Honolulu' is Theroux at his diabolical best." -Portland Tribune