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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For me, his best book
I've read several Irving works, including THE WOLRD ACCORDING TO GARP and A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY, but this, for me is his truly great work. I think it goes without saying that Irving is one of the most talented writers to date; his narratives are strong and his work is almost always character drive, something I find in the novels of Jackson McCrae and Saul Bellow. Also,...
Published on July 13 2007 by D. Hansford

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2.0 out of 5 stars Sad read
I found the characters annoying and unbelievable. Worst John Irving book I have read so far although Until I Find you was pretty brutal too.Hordes of women sexually wanting an eleven year old boy. World According to Garp and Widow for one Year top notch. For me Irving's books are hit or miss
Published 4 months ago by Jan


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2.0 out of 5 stars Sad read, Feb. 28 2014
Ce commentaire est de: The Hotel New Hampshire (Paperback)
I found the characters annoying and unbelievable. Worst John Irving book I have read so far although Until I Find you was pretty brutal too.Hordes of women sexually wanting an eleven year old boy. World According to Garp and Widow for one Year top notch. For me Irving's books are hit or miss
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For me, his best book, July 13 2007
I've read several Irving works, including THE WOLRD ACCORDING TO GARP and A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY, but this, for me is his truly great work. I think it goes without saying that Irving is one of the most talented writers to date; his narratives are strong and his work is almost always character drive, something I find in the novels of Jackson McCrae and Saul Bellow. Also, he somehow manages to show us the underside of humanity without us feeling violated. He manages this perfectly in HOTEL. With a little of everything from adolescent angst, to a bear, to the family's travails in various places, HOTEL is a myriad of fun, sadness, and a family saga that is like no other. As I said before, Irving's works are character driven, and of course you're going to find odd characters, just as you would in McCrae's BARK OF THE DOGWOOD (which is outstanding, by the way), or in the works of Palahniuk. But Irving gives his characters something no one else does, and it's a "can't quite put my finger on it" something that makes them so real, so alive, that when you finish the book, you're sad to have to close the pages. Now, there are some parts of the book that are REALLY going to turn some people off, such as the brother-sister thing that goes on. Frankly, I'm shocked more people haven't written about this, but somehow Irving pulls even this taboo topic off. One of the things I like about his books, and this one in particular, is the fact that he gives us the story, then steps back and lets us decide about the characters and what's happened. A sort of Ibsen approach to the text. In this way he takes the element of himself out of the story and all that's left is the narrative. While this is certainly not a new book, I highly recommend it, along with the novels BARK OF THE DOGWOOD and the ever popular THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER, both which are very good and will keep you flipping the pages. Also anything else by Irving.
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5.0 out of 5 stars He's da man, March 23 2007
By 
Bob (Cranesville) - See all my reviews
First introduced to Irving via his WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP and loving that, I decided to take on this novel. It just happened to be at the same time that our book club picked it--lucky me. Of the three books we read in the last month (the other two were "Bark of the Dogwood" and "Kite Runner") we liked Irving's work the best, probably because it was such a great blend of humor and sadness. This book has such a human element to it. I haven't seen the movie, so I can't speak for that, but the writing, my God, the writing alone is worth the price for this novel. There are a lot of metaphors in this book, as you'll find in all of Irving's works, and you can either see them for what they are or simply read the novel on an entertainment level. The family is led by Win Berry who is a dreamer. He's the driving force in the novel, and he doesn't shy away from telling what happens---sometimes you kind of wish he would----but it all works. Some may find the sexual scenes a bit much, but they're believable, as well as the part about the bear (don't want to give it away). I was really moved by this book, just as I was with the novels "World According to Garp" and "Bark of the Dogwood." I'd recommend this to anyone who likes to laugh . . . and cry.
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4.0 out of 5 stars One rock steady writer, Feb. 8 2005
Ce commentaire est de: The Hotel New Hampshire (Paperback)
Irving is one of those people who can't seem to miss the mark when it comes to good solid writing. I actually bought this book at a yard sale because I liked the cover and this is one time I can definitely judge a book by its cover! I fell in love with each and every member of the Berry family and even New England in the course of reading this incredible book. I laughed out loud, wiped tears from my eyes and smiled inwardly the whole time. The only other book that had this much impact on me was a collection of short stories by the author Jackson McCrae titled "The Children's Corner." I am looking forward to reading more of Irving's works. He is the most mature, sensitive and realistic writer I have ever encountered. I get bored easily with books. If a book doesn't grab me in the first 10 pages or so, I set it aside. I carried 'The Hotel New Hampshire' with me everywhere for 3 days until I finished it then felt like old friends had moved away. This Book is a journey well worth taking and I would recommend it to anyone who likes to travel through real peoples lives
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5.0 out of 5 stars Irving At His Finest, May 31 2004
By 
A. Butler "ambutler" (San Diego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I don't presume that this review will do justice to the masterpeice that is the Hotel New Hampshire. The best I can say is that I enjoyed this book immensely, it was rich with themes, it was tragic and absurd, it was full of wonderful characters and situations. If you are a fan of Owen Meany and Garp, you will like this book. This book is Irving at his creative best. Enjoy!
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1.0 out of 5 stars A rare disappointment, Feb. 7 2004
By 
"jac348" (Athens, OH United States) - See all my reviews
Having read and loved "Omen Meany," "Garp," "Son of the Circus," and "Cider House Rules," I was shocked and disappointed by this, John Irnving's most lurid, contrived, and depressing novel. The plots were implausible, the characters thinly realized, the themes repulsive and uncomfortable, and the point of the book entirely elusive. Every great writer is entitled a lemon, and this is certainly Irving's Edsel. Skip it and stick to the others, lest you momentarily lose faith in one of America's greatest contemporary novelists.
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2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, Sept. 18 2003
By 
William Krischke (Portland, OR United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
After being very impressed with Owen Meaney, I am disappointed with Hotel New Hampshire. And the funny thing is, the same elements I loved about Owen Meaney are the reasons I barely finished Hotel.
I get tired of the constant narrative foreshadowing - "it wasn't the last time Lilly would save us all," etc. Maybe it worked in Owen Meaney because there was a greater theme of fate/destiny, a terrible sense that we were moving toward the inevitable conclusion whether we want to or not. That theme is utterly missing in Hotel, and as a result, the foreshadowing is just annoying.
I have a lot harder time buying some of the ridiculous elements in this story. I'm learning that making the ridiculous believable is a trademark of Irving's style, but, well, if I didn't believe it, then he didn't. A woman in a bear suit that people actually think is a bear? Have you ever seen a woman in a bear suit? It doesn't look anything like a bear.
I get utterly sick of the heavy-handed "Sorrow floats" attempt at symbolism. It doesn't work for me at all. At all.
And it seems like every time the narrative movement starts to slow down, the author kills someone off. How many people die in the course of 400 pages? The body count is in double-digits. At what point am I allowed to stop caring - or start expecting another death? This is an amateur author trick, one I won't let my students get away with.
John Irving is a strong, talented writer, and I will keep reading his books, hoping to find more like Owen Meaney and less like this. He has a great gift for storytelling, if he can just keep it under control, and I think his forte is micro-scenes and logical folly. He writes good, lovable, warm characters (though he could stand to make them a bit more complex.) He flails around with symbolism and mysticism like a rookie writer in this book, but I am hoping that as he continues to write, he will wield that tool more deftly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A solid read, Aug. 17 2003
This book, hot on the heels of the defining epoch of "The World According to Garp", isn't as great as its immediate predecessor, but it is a solid read nonetheless. Irving re-visits several themes from "Garp" in this book, among them Vienna, bears and rape. In spite of these familiarites, the book isn't weighed down by them, but added its own familiar dimension. Irving is a favorite of mine when I need to read a novel packed with out-of-the-ordinary events and weird characters. Check it out after reading "Garp".
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3.0 out of 5 stars In Closing, June 18 2003
By 
This is probably the last Irving book I'll review for a while because I've pretty much read them all until something new comes out. What I can tell you after reading 8 Irving novels, is that some are really good (Cider House Rules, World According to Garp), others are pretty bad (Prayer for Owen Meany, Fourth Hand), and still others are in between (Widow for One Year, Son of the Circus). Hotel New Hampshire I have to put in the third category of in between books.
The best thing about the book is the cast of quirky characters essential to any Irving novel. The Berry family is a loving, oddball family of different personalities, which sometimes conflict, but for the most part work together in a sort of harmony as they grow up. The story follows their misadventures through three variations of the Hotel New Hampshire, one in the rundown town of Dairy, New Hampshire, one in Vienna, and the final one along the ocean in Maine.
Like any Irving novel, you can see elements in past and future books. The way I think of it, Irving's books are all one house and for each novel, the author moves around the furniture a little bit so while it's the same house, it LOOKS slightly different to us readers. After eight novels, I'm used to the references to wrestling, prep schools, Vienna, and bears, though like anyone, I wish Irving would try to move beyond these elements sometimes.
The main weakness of the book is the same as in Owen Meany, although not as pronounced. John the narrator is really a dull guy, who pretty much sits back and has things happen to him as opposed to going out and doing anything. As he says, he's the caretaker of the family, which also means he's not very interesting. However, he's not like John the narrator of the Owen Meany who's completely unlikeable.
So, in closing, this is an enjoyable read and I recommend anyone who's liked some of Irving's other books take a look at this one. If you haven't read any other Irving novels, then I'd say to start with Cider House Rules and World According to Garp, then move on to Son of the Circus, Hotel New Hampshire, Widow for One Year, and Setting Free the Bears. Then at your own risk, try out Owen Meany and the Fourth Hand.
And that, as Forrest Gump would say, is all I gotta say about that.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Okay Read, June 4 2003
By 
James Le (Huntington Beach, CA United States) - See all my reviews
Definitely not his best work. Maybe I'll re-read it in a couple years and find something I've missed. A Prayer for Owen Meany and A Widow for One Year are my favorites. Try those on for size.
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The Hotel New Hampshire
The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving (Paperback - May 1 2001)
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