What happens when 36 writers, of various genres, come together and work on the same novel at 2-hour live intervals for a period of one week? The Hotel Angeline is what happens...a wonderful new book by an imaginative collective of authors who all reside in and around the Pacific Northwest. The novel, written in chapters penned by each of the 36 participants, tells the story of Alexis, a precocious 14 year-old girl whose life is far from ordinary. She and her gravely ill mother live in (and serve as the landlords for) the Hotel Angeline in Seattle, what was once a mortuary, but has since been converted into apartments - dilapidated, run-down apartments that serve as "home" for a group of eccentric, misfit aging artsy types who smoke pot, detest Fox News and the conventionality of the ordinary. Beyond the liberal leanings of those who populate this insightful, well-rendered novel is a wonderful coming of age tale for fatherless, identity-challenged Alexis. She is faced with extraordinary choices and goes to great, often unexpected, lengths to do right by a mother whom she loves and wishes to honor. The unexpected arc of the plot keeps the reader turning pages as Alexis strives to save the Angeline and the residents therein. There is something for every fan of literature here - adolescent lit, thrillers, mysteries, fans of comic, fantasy, domestic fiction and even graphic novels. Over the course of the story, I marveled at how the voice of Alexis carried through the novel so distinctly and seamlessly, despite the influence of multiple authors who lent their time and talent to this project to benefit Seattle7Writers, a literary nonprofit organization. It was also great fun to read the novel with an eye toward authors whose work I already admire-- Elizabeth George, Garth Stein, Mary Guterson--to read their individual chapter contributions and the way in which their literary choices propelled the story forward with great insight, wit and sensitivity (fascinating!)...and also to discover the work of other voices and talents of which I was not familiar.
Link HERE for a video about the project and the book.
Hotel Angeline (A Novel in 36 Voices)
Open Road Integrated Media LLC, 978-1453218785, 260 pp.
Publication Date: April 18, 2011
To order this book via Amazon.com link HERE
In order to write this review, a copy of the novel was provided to me via Open Road Integrated Media in conjuction with NetGalley