The Third Hotel by Laura van den Berg

The Third Hotel

In Havana, Cuba, a widow tries to come to terms with her husband’s death―and the truth about their marriage―in Laura van den Berg’s surreal, mystifying story of psychological reflection and metaphysical mystery.Shortly after Clare arrives in Havana, Cuba, to attend the annual Festival of New Latin American Cinema, she finds her husband, Richard, standing outside a museum. He’s wearing a white linen suit she’s never seen before, and he...

Details The Third Hotel

TitleThe Third Hotel
Release DateAug 7th, 2018
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux
GenreFiction, Mystery, Literary Fiction, Novels, Horror, Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Adult Fiction

Reviews The Third Hotel

  • Iryna (Book and Sword)
    2.5/5 (rounded down)"What in the world did I just read" - sums up this book very well. At least for me. Aside from giving it a low rating I actually do not think that this is a bad book, I think that this is a brilliant book - for the right audience. The closest thing I can compare it to is The ocean at the end of the lane by Neil Gaiman, so if you enjoyed that one you will probably love The Third Hotel. Myself? Not so much. I didn't enjoy Gaiman...
  • Mike Scalise
    Read this book if you like any of the following, or all of the following, and you'll be utterly entranced: (a) horror movies(b) smart discussions about horror movies(c) ghost stories(d) ghost stories that kind of maybe aren't ghost stories, but also maybe are?(e) strange, confounding protagonists(f) metaphysical mysteries(g) deep considerations of marriage and what it means(h) short, finish-in-one-sitting novels with unique, irresistible voices
  • Kylie D
    A strange little book that sees our protagonist, Clare, reeling from the death of her husband Richard. Richard was a horror film buff, and was planning to go to a film festival in Cuba when he died in an accident. Clare decides to honour this wish and still go. She does go to some of the festivities, but spends a lot of time wandering aimlessly about in Havana, where she sees her husband outside a museum. She continues to see him around, thinking...
  • Blair
    The Third Hotel is such a complex and meaningful novel, so deceptively smooth yet so loaded with significance. It's almost too big for me to sum up without spinning into endless ruminations. It's about tourism, grief, and misogyny in the arts. It is also a startling piece of weird fiction in which a woman encounters her dead husband alive again. This is not a case of mistaken identity, but whether he is a ghost, hallucination or alternate self we...
  • Kasa Cotugno
    This is a highly unusual take on a familiar subject, accomplished with originality and wit. Laura van den Berg had me at the location and setting, but her protagonist stepped off the page and became real, a viable character flaws and all. I was even intrigued by her line of work. Havana also comes alive, and Clare's long walks through her streets are filled with sensual detail. I was somewhat reminded of Daphne du Maurier's description of Venice ...
  • Courtney Maum
    A lovely, haunting book that recalls Deb Olin Unferth's "Vacation" crossed with Samantha Hunt "The Seas." If you enjoyed the film, "A Ghost Story", you will love this book. It's complex, lush, sensual and wholly original. An enchanting read.
  • Ilana
    Incredible, gorgeous novel. Cannot wait for the world to get to read it. Addictive, propulsive, and a fascinating look at the psyche of grief. Also just incredibly intelligent and multilayered and emotionally riveting.
  • Jamie
    Absolute stunner of a novel.
  • Vincent Scarpa
    Beyond the possibilities of articulation. A masterpiece from a writer with singular empathetic and intellectual voltage.
  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
    Clare is reflecting on her life and trying to pinpoint a definitive moment when she spots her husband Richard, five weeks after his funeral, on a tourist filled street in Havana, Cuba.Richard, a horror film scholar, was supposed to attend a film festival in Havana with Clare before his sudden death in a hit and run near their home.Clare has chosen to attend the festival alone and it feels like her way of grieving and coming to terms with her loss...
  • Miriam
    Holy fuck. Not enough stars in the world for this book.
  • Paolo Latini
    apparentely a meditation on grief disguised as an almost horror story with a sort of a ghost, or doppleganger or what it is. Actually a metaphysical meditation on the bounds of reality, on human fears and of human perception of the self and of others. The grief part reminded me Amelia Gray’s two novels (Threats and Isadora, which deal more or less with the same issue), the horror part is a sort of metafictional re-telling of a Stephen King’s ...
  • Tracy
    I love how Laura van den Berg sets up atmosphere. You're left questioning memory, questioning reality--eerie encounters and dry humor about throughout Clare's trip. Maybe I laugh at the uncomfortable. The Third Hotel is not about getting to the end of the story. It's about the story."In Havana, the signals were manifold and often contradictory, making it easy for a person to find support for whatever narrative they had decided to seek." (40)
  • Ann
    Lushly descriptive portraits of Cuba intertwine with this fever dream told from the mind of bereaving wife. Clare spots her dead husband on the Havana streets. She follows him, he disappears into the alleys. She follows him to a small home, watches him buy mangoes then fade into the evening. Part ghost story, part mystery, full ambiguously beautiful story told with some horror tropes and the fog of marriage memories. The author's choice to portra...
  • Drew
    I've adored Laura van den Berg's writing since the very first story of hers that I read - and now, she's entering a whole new phase and I couldn't be more excited. This novel is strange: it is purposefully pocked with holes, it is a horror novel that doesn't scare, it all feels something like a dream... and while I hesitate to always ascribe dream-logic-y things to Lynchian inspiration, I can't help but think that this novel would make an excelle...
  • Megan Sullivan
    I love this book so much.
  • Kalen
    I just didn't get this one and I suspect it's more me than the book itself. I'm actually sitting here feeling rather stupid that I didn't get this one, pretty much at all. I suspect that if you're a fan of horror films and books, you'll get it and that's who I recommend it for. I also suspect I tried to read it/take it too literally.
  • Mara
    This is a beautifully written book, with an interesting setting (hello Cuba), and an intriguing premise. I found it perfectly enjoyable. This was my first encounter with Laura van den Berg and I am definitely intrigued to try more from her, especially her short stories, as I've heard wonderful things about them. I don't know that this is a book that will stick with me, but I enjoyed it as I was reading it
  • Jessica
    Apparently, a meditation on grief, but also a vague something or other. I don’t know, I liked some of the ambiguity, but too much of it results in a review that doesn’t really say anything. Like this.Thanks to Netgalley for providing free digital access to this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
  • Andrea
    The setting: "In Havana, Cuba, a widow tries to come to terms with her husband’s death―and the truth about their marriage..." Clare [widow] believes she sees Richard [husband, a horror film scholar] in Havana to attend the Festival of New Latin American Cinema. [There is a particular film that piques his interest.] Clare attempts to follow Richard. "As the distinction between reality and fantasy blurs, Clare finds grounding in memories of her...
  • Kristen
    Laura Van Den Berg’s new novel, “The Third Hotel,” tells the story of Clare, an elevator company representative who travels to Cuba for a film festival shortly after the death of her horror-film scholar husband, Richard. While in Havana, she thinks she spots Richard at a distance, but he slips away before she can confront him. She continues her trip, anyway, contemplating her past and her marriage, and wondering how Richard could be alive. ...
  • Anya Leonard
    An interesting delve into dealing with grief. Clare has travelled to Cuba in order to attend a horror movie festival she planned to see when her husband was struck by a car and killed. She then sees her husband in Cuba and proceeds to follow him. The character development and descriptions of how she deals with the stress and grief of this situation are rich and all-encompassing. This is an amazing and compelling tale of how to deal with the after...
  • Victoria Wood
    Full Review, Overview & Commentary on my blog - arrives in Havana alone. She is attending an event her husband was planning to attend – but he cant, because he is dead. Outside the museum, she sees him standing in street staring at the sky. She starts following him throughout the city. Grief stricken Clare starts to reflect on her past life, and the relationship with her husband – which despite hi...
  • Patricia
    The insights Laura van den Berg shares on grief and marriage made this book for me. The storyline was intriguing—a woman's husband dies and she goes to Havana for a film festival they were both to attend. She sees her husband all over town. Eventually they meet and talk and we understand a bit why they were together but spent so much time apart, and why losing him split her world apart, even though she wasn't entirely happy with him. Or happy a...
  • Annie
    Grief makes people act strangely, especially when someone has lost someone very close to them. Movies and TV make grief look a certain way: lots of tears, depression, withdrawal from others, and so on. But in Laura van den Berg’s The Third Hotel, Clare follows an inchoate grief into dark places. When we meet her, we know that she is in Havana for a film festival her husband was looking forward to. We also know that he was killed in a car accide...
  • Lissa
    I should probably start this review by admitting that this is really not my kind of book which probably reflects in my rating.  The main character, Clare, travels to Havana after the death of her husband to attend a horror film festival in his stead.  Walking around the city, she details her observations and swears she sees her deceased husband.  I enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of Cuba and the various little mysteries that are mentioned t...
  • Chase Burke
    Fantastic. A dark, dreamy, surreal depiction of self, identity, marriage, and grief.Laura van den Berg's sentences are, as always, sinuous marvels, and they transform a dense story about maybe-doppelgangers and maybe-zombies and maybe-madness into something relatably human, relatably stricken by grief and loss. And there's a welcome line of morbid humor, too.Mistaken identities, academic jargon, and snippets of film criticism abound. This is a pu...
  • Kaycie Hall
    I really enjoyed this novel as an exploration of grief. As the main character unravels, she kind of draws you into her head trying to discern what is real and what is imagined and finally drill down into her own sense of self and loss - the loss both of her husband and her father, and in some sense, herself. Appreciated the descriptions of traveling in Cuba, traveling alone as a woman, and academic perspectives on the horror genre as well. Very w...
  • Ann
    I'm conflicted about THE THIRD HOTEL. Originally I was attracted by the setting in Havana, Cuba, and the author easily shares the feeling of being in that country through the pictures she paints with words. It is, however, a difficult read that keeps the reader off-center and unsure what is happening. I do not believe it will have a wide audience but it will have a passionate following among sophisticated readers and cinephiles.