"[A] future cult classic." —The New York Times Book Review
"There’s Borges and Bolaño, Kafka and Cortázar, Modiano and Murakami, and now Laura van den Berg." —The Washington Post
Finalist for the NYPL Young Lions Award. Named a Best Book of 2018 by The Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Electric Literature and Lit Hub. An August 2018 IndieNext Selection. Named a Summer 2018 Read by The Washington Post, Vulture, Nylon, Elle, BBC, InStyle, Refinery29, Bustle, O, the Oprah Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Harper's Bazaar, Conde Nast Traveler, Southern Living, Lit Hub, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn.
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’s supposed to be dead. Grief-stricken and baffled, Clare tails Richard, a horror film scholar, through the newly tourist-filled streets of Havana, clocking his every move. As the distinction between reality and fantasy blurs, Clare finds grounding in memories of her childhood in Florida and of her marriage to Richard, revealing her role in his death and reappearance along the way. The Third Hotel is a propulsive, brilliantly shape-shifting novel from an inventive author at the height of her narrative powers.
In her mysterious and engrossing second novel, van den Berg (Find Me) tells the story of recently widowed elevator sales rep Clare, who travels to Havana after her horror-film scholar husband, Richard, is killed in a hit-and-run near their home in Upstate New York. The couple had planned to attend the Festival of New Latin American Cinema together, specifically to see Cuba's first horror film, a zombie picture named Revoluci n Zombi, and Clare intends on seeing the trip through in Richard's honor. Shortly after arriving at the festival, between screenings and excursions close to the novel's titular hotel, Clare spies a man from afar who looks exactly like Richard. Though she knows it's impossible, Clare soon becomes convinced her husband has somehow been resurrected and begins searching for him. Toying with horror tropes and conventions, and displaying shades of authors such as Julio Cort zar, van den Berg turns Clare's journey into a dreamlike exploration of grief. This is a potent novel about life, death, and the afterlife.
Don’t bother. And don’t trust reviewers. Amateurly written.