The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith

The Frangipani Hotel

From the story about a beautiful young woman who shows up thirsty in the bathtub of the Frangipani Hotel in Saigon many years after her first sighting there, to a young woman in Houston who befriends an old Vietnamese man she discovers naked behind a dumpster, to a truck driver asked to drive a young man with an unnamed ailment home to die, to the story of two American sisters sent to Vietnam to visit their elderly grandmother who is not what she...

Details The Frangipani Hotel

TitleThe Frangipani Hotel
Release DateApr 1st, 2014
PublisherSpiegel & Grau
GenreShort Stories, Fiction, Fantasy, Cultural, Asia, Horror

Reviews The Frangipani Hotel

  • Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
    I'm Vietnamese. I speak, write, and read the language. I was born there, I know people who were served in the Vietnam War (hi, dad), I know people who came over to Europe, the US, Australia as boat people. So needless to say, if this book claims to be a book of Vietnamese stories, I'm going to be extra-critical.This book is a collection of Vietnamese ghost stories. They are the most boring ghosts I have ever read.Let me clarify something: There a...
  • Samadrita
    What your mind dredges up from memory and consciousness upon the utterance of the word 'Vietnam' is wholly predictable. That naked girl child of Trảng Bàng fleeing a napalm attack in terror, her scream silenced by the stillness of the well-known picture you have glanced at time and again or the grotesque image of blood-soaked bodies heaped by the side of a rice field in My Lai that continued to burn like a stinging slap across the face of the ...
  • An Redman
    The writing is gorgeous and the settings are always lush. I love love love the way the author utilizes both elderly and children characters, a skill set often missing in single author anthologies. There exists a wry and mischievous sense of humour that pervades most of the stories. At no point did I feel like the author was trying too hard to impress us (which is a compliment, I assure you). I don't think I've read Vietnam centric stories before ...
  • Rebecca
    Inspired by her Vietnamese grandmother’s oral traditions, Kupersmith began composing these nine short stories as a student at Mt. Holyoke. Her knowledge of Vietnamese history, both ancient folktales and post-War reconstruction, is masterful, but she so carefully interweaves this material with her storylines that nothing ever seems superfluous. Her wit is similarly effortless. I particularly enjoyed her comic one-liners: “Vietnam was Fat Camp...
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    I wasn't sure what to expect from a book of "Vietnamese ghost stories," but I really enjoyed the surprises and twists in this book. Some of the stories are set in Vietnam, and some are in places like California featuring Vietnamese characters, but all of them are very contemporary, at least one generation removed from the Vietnam War. Contemporary in setting but not necessarily in subject, as the stories told by the characters often go back sever...
  • Diane S ☔
    The Frangipani is an old run down hotel n Saigon and where the story, Reception, takes place. One of my favorites and the story that had the most humor. I loved all of these stories, ghost tales and folk tales all having some hidden meaning to the teller of the story. All offer a glimpse into the Vietnamese culture.Loved Skin and Bones though I will admit I am not sure of the whole meaning or the happenings within. It still fascinated me and I id...
  • Margy
    Short stories are difficult; either you just begin to like the character and the story ends or the story doesn't develop enough to really care. I think Frangipani Hotel with it's nine stories suffers a little from the later. I did for the most part like the characters, but felt they lacked depth, especially the older characters. This book was advertised as being based on Vietnamese folk tales and because of this I expected to be immersed in the V...
  • rachel
    I have a thing for reading books by preternaturally young writers. As you can see from the examples I have linked, I tend to find their work either prodigious or terrible. Violet Kupersmith's The Frangipani Hotel is a different breed. Like Abigail Tarttelin's Golden Boy, she tackles an inherently risky topic. Good supernatural stories have a feeling of agelessness; Kupersmith's intent (at least, as I've gathered her intent to be from the book cop...
  • Aubrey
    3.5/5One less than noble reason for short stories growing on me is their inherent lack of commitment. For someone for whom 200 pages is short and 600 is close to being able to stand up and stretch, short stories, save for the rare cycle and complete collection, are a snack, more emotive per pound and less to process. This is especially the case when the area of expertise is not my own, as it's difficult to expend the necessary effort to find thin...
  • Emma Sea
    Gobsmackingly good. I found Turning Back and One-Finger to be far less accomplished, but honestly? I couldn't pick between the others for my favorite. The sense of place was captivating. I notice one reviewer says, "The writer shows promise . . . though [it] does not have the level of craft of first-rate professional fiction."To which I'd reply, "What the hell are you reading?" (I almost giffed, here).
  • Anmiryam
    When I read advance descriptions of this debut story collection, I interpreted the mentions of ghost stories infused with Vietnamese folkloric elements to mean there would be literary ghosts. By that I mean there would be tales that would reveal metaphoric ghosts, the ghosts of a country scarred by a drawn-out and debilitating war, the stories of immigrants who are haunted by the country and family they left behind and the loss and longing of lat...
  • Althea Ann
    ATTENTION! Nebula nominators and World Fantasy Award voters! You want to read this book!Yes, I know it says "The Frangipani Hotel: Fiction." And the cover is ever so tastefully vague and understated. A more accurate title might be: "The Frangipani Hotel: Dark, Lush and Horrific Ghostly Tales of Vietnam." If the cover artist really wanted to reflect the content of the book, there'd be a creepy zombie walking through the fog, next to that quaint bo...
  • Chaitra
    I'm going to be biased. These are my type of ghost stories - eerie and atmospheric rather than gross out or jump-scary. Even though I'm not Vietnamese, these scaries seem familiar. While I'm positive I've never heard exactly the same tale, there's the feeling that I could have heard it, in a good way. For the stories themselves, as with any story collection, there are good eggs and bad ones. But the good ones are really good - I still feel uneasy...
  • Jessica Woodbury
    Prepare yourself for the wunderkind talk sure to erupt when Violet Kupersmith's book of stories comes out. She's ridiculously young and has a pretty author's photo. It's enough to make any aspiring writer jealous.Worse, Kupersmith earns it. Her book of stories is lovely and eerie and full of spooky stories. Americans in Vietnam, Vietnamese in America, displacement is a regular theme. The early stories are the highlight, such as the titular one. (...
  • Stacia
    I'm not familiar with Vietnamese ghost or spirit stories, so I don't know if the stories in The Frangipani Hotel reflect on the culture & folklore of Vietnam or not. I do know that Kupersmith has created an atmospheric collection of stories that seem to mesh the spirit world with the modern world, weaving the eerie or odd into modern times, often with a mischievous humor, presenting both a clash & a concert of characters (whether human, spirit, a...
  • Anna Janelle
    I’ll be incredibly honest in admitting my ignorance about Vietnamese culture and traditions. (To me, my only relevant frame of reference is my limited knowledge about the horror of the Vietnam War. I mean, basic history class stuff coupled with brief interactions with veterans – usually old alcoholics that I encounter in bars, men still wrecked from their involvement in that botched war that happened over forty years ago. I can’t imagine li...
  • Audra (Unabridged Chick)
    I loved this volume of short stories, right from the first page. Reminiscent of Aimee Bender, Elizabeth Hand, Sara Maitland, and Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, Kupersmith's stories have that wonderful mix of mood, slightly supernatural-y elements, and lovely language you just want to pluck out and savor.These nine stories are set in Vietnan or in Vietnamese-American households in the US. Most have an undercurrent of creepiness to them due to a vaguely ...
  • Linda
    Ms. Kupersmith's writing and descriptions are well done. There is a good sense of place to all the stories, whether you are in a crappy neighborhood in a big American city or in the jungles of Vietnam. I think she has a promising career as a writer.Although I liked the stories in The Frangipani Hotel, I did not love them. Here's why. Although they were ghost stories, I was never afraid or creeped out. My favorite of the ghost stories was "One-Fin...
  • Sanda
    I must admit I usually stir clear of collections of short stories. The book cover looked interesting however, and when I read a bit more about the book itself, the combination of a young author and stories about Vietnam did sound sufficiently exotic for me to take a chance. And as it frequently happens, good things happen when we step out of our comfort zone. Violet Kupersmith is a talented story teller without a doubt and a promising writer. I w...
  • Chris Blocker
    Violet Kupersmith's debut collection, The Frangipani Hotel, has some wonderful stories. All with a touch of Vietnam, these ghost stories often blend the war era with modern times. Many are startling and creepy, but what's most impressive is the variety from one story to the next. Overall, this collection had some hits and it had its misses. There were some stories that felt unworked, perhaps even a bit juvenile; let's acknowledge that for the age...
  • Jennifer
    This book is perhaps one of the most unique reads that I have encountered in the last couple of years. It is a breath of fresh air in an area of space that seems to be rehashed over and over in the world of the ghostly and bizarre. The author presents a compilation of paranormal stories that take place in Vietnam, which are both fascinating and disturbing. It brings a slight insight of both the spiritual and family practices of the people of Viet...
  • Cheryl
    I love a good ghost story. I like to be scared. To have the feeling that someone might be watching or to get goose bumps and have the hairs on my arms stand up. These are all feelings that I should experience when I read a great ghost story or two or in this case many ghost stories. I felt none of these while reading this book. Not even a whisper of a feeling. The first story was fine. The second story I can not remember and only read a few pages...
  • Nancy Steinle gummel
    The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith is a first reads win and I am giving my honest opinion. This book is a compilation of short stories all involving the Vietnamese people either here in the States or in Vietnam. There is en element of the supernatural that rings out in these stories. If you let your imagination run you can see the horror before your eyes.
  • Kkraemer
    This is a book of ghosts, the kinds of ghosts who have been long disturbed and long interested in the changes wrought by the conflict between Vietnam and its visitors from the West. Mostly, these are Vietnamese ghosts, but they are also the ghosts of the young who were disappointed, the naive who were exploited, and the displaced who are eternally lost. These stories are magnificent: Kupersmith draws pictures that place the reader not only inside...
  • Piyali Mukherjee
    I loved the local flavor of Vietnam that colored these stories, but there was a distinct improvement in style from the opening story to the end. "The Guests" would probably be my most favorite story since it captures the dissonance of the immigrant experience beautifully. The elements of magical realism in the book felt closer to intriguing rather than terrifying, and I don't know if this collection is necessarily a collection of horror stories. ...
  • Sharon/ LFrog1386
    Amazing tales of the supernatural and ghosts of war from a gifted storyteller. Kupersmith knows how to keep you guessing until the very end, then leaves you with a quick punch to the gut. Breathless, you go back and read the last paragraph or last line again, not quite believing what you just read. The stories echo of a country and culture deeply rooted in the souls of those born there and fought there and still haunt the survivors to this day an...
  • Elliot
    I'm never quite sure how to review short story collections, so bear with me. These stories all share a sense of unease and creeping dread, which is something I enjoy in my ghost stories. There are plenty of spooky ghosts, unsettling scenarios, and narratives that leave your skin crawling. They have a feeling of tapping into urban legends and traditional folk tales (though I don't know enough about Vietnamese culture to say whether that is accurat...
  • Sarah-Hope
    The Fangipani Hotel is an interesting creature—an atmospheric collection of ghost/supernatural stories that are contemporary in their setting, but grounded in centuries-old Vietnamese folklore. I'm not usually a reader of supernatural fiction, but having read a fair bit of non-fiction about the war in Vietnam, I was curious to see what the author would do in creating post-war narratives that drew on both recent and more distant history. The war...
  • Jennifer Decker
    Open The Frangipani Hotel and meet a whole host of supernatural protagonists: the stunningly beautiful “hungry” ghost craving more than just food, the old man who morphs into a snake, and the ghosts of violence and war that haunt an elderly woman even across decades and continents. This collection of short stories both informs and entertains as it transforms Vietnamese folk stories into literary fiction to convey the significance of ghosts in...
  • Bill Wolfe
    Read my full review at my blog dedicated to literary fiction by women, Read Her Like an Open Book. Most Americans of a certain age are still haunted by the Vietnam War all these years after the war that nearly split the country in two. The Vietnamese are undoubtedly confronted with the ghosts of the Vietnam War as well, 40 years after the U.S. military left Saigon. A third group is also dealing wit...