A Small Hotel

A Small Hotel Set in contemporary New Orleans but working its way back in time A Small Hotel chronicles the relationship between Michael and Kelly Hays who have decided to separate after twenty four years of marr

  • Title: A Small Hotel
  • Author: Robert Olen Butler
  • ISBN: 9780802119872
  • Page: 163
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Set in contemporary New Orleans but working its way back in time, A Small Hotel chronicles the relationship between Michael and Kelly Hays, who have decided to separate after twenty four years of marriage The book begins on the day that the Hays are to finalize their divorce Kelly is due to be in court, but instead she drives from her home in Pensacola, Florida, across tSet in contemporary New Orleans but working its way back in time, A Small Hotel chronicles the relationship between Michael and Kelly Hays, who have decided to separate after twenty four years of marriage The book begins on the day that the Hays are to finalize their divorce Kelly is due to be in court, but instead she drives from her home in Pensacola, Florida, across the panhandle to New Orleans and checks into Room 303 at the Olivier House in the city s French Quarter the hotel where she and Michael fell in love some twenty five years earlier and where she now finds herself about to make a decision that will forever affect her, Michael, and their nineteen year old daughter, Samantha An intelligent, deeply moving, and remarkably written portrait of a relationship that reads as a cross between a romance novel and a literary page turner, A Small Hotel is a masterful story that will remind readers once again why Robert Olen Butler has been called the best living American writer Jeff Guinn, Fort Worth Star Telegram.

    One thought on “A Small Hotel”

    1. I have previously read "Perfume River" by Robert Olen Butler and loved that one. "A Small Hotel" was good as well, but not on the same level, in my opinion. There is no doubt that this novel is written in a fascinating way. It's basically one long chapter about Michael's and Kelly's thoughts on their mariage which has failed after 20 years. They are now separated and thinking back on their happy days as a couple. Kelly has even returned to room 303 at a hotel where they had their first date. How [...]

    2. So, let me quote from the GR author's page:{] won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, [] a recipient of both a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction and a National Endowment for the Arts grant, he also won the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. He has twice won a National Magazine Award in Fiction and has received two Pushcart Prizes.In spite of the author's fanstastic credentials, this book is no [...]

    3. Confused by LoveIn one evening a couple relives their entire life together. As young people they met in Louisiana at Mardi Gras and immediately felt an affinity. Over the next 25 years life happens and cracks begin to open. Work, parenting and their scars from childhood intervene. Michael’s harsh, unexpressive father taught him not to share what’s in his heart. It’s not manly. Kelly can’t help wondering why her mentally ill father is so distant. Then they both meet other people who seduc [...]

    4. Though many describe this book as the story of the dissolution of a marriage, I saw it as a masterful portrayal of people caught in their own limitations, which are also the limitations of their parents and will be the limitations of their children if they don't CUT IT OUT!!! Some are critical of the author's choice of writing about this topic (marital reconfiguring) on the heels of his own, fairly recent (2007) divorce. I am of the "write-about-what-you-know" school of thought. Especially if yo [...]

    5. This is why I try to avoid reading other reviews of books before I write my own thoughts. According to a major newspaper's book blog, Butler's latest novel comes uncomfortably close to mirroring his own 1995 divorce, made infamous after an extremely personal email he wrote went astray. An email about why his marriage failed, citing specifics about his ex-wife's past.I'll be honest, knowing Butler was at least inadvertently responsible for this happening pre-disposes me to feel a little disgusted [...]

    6. How in heaven's name can a creative writing teacher at Florida State University, who has won a Pulitzer Prize, National Magazine Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction, an NEA grant and the Richard and Hinda Roenthal Award, possibly write such a terrible book? Run on sentences, fragmented paragraphs and formless, shapeless writing abounds. If you're all about reading a book where almost every other sentence begins with 'and' or 'but,' this book is for you. This is a dark and depressing litt [...]

    7. OMG what a bunch of drama queens. Everybody here takes him/herself w a y too seriously. Is anybody on earth really this humorless? A story--told stupidly in the present tense, self consciously drifting from a boring, dreary present to a misunderstood past--about a divorcing couple who deserve each shallow, self absorbed other.

    8. How long does it take to say that stereotypical belief that men don't communicate and women will do anything to keep them. Apparently 241 pages.

    9. I found this book unbearable. It's written in a way I might have been tempted to write a short story in the ninth grade, thinking it romantic to use pronouns almost exclusively. Of course I wouldn't have used the word "tits" quite so much, or at all really. Give it a read if you like to roll your eyes. Bonus points if you suffer through the audiobook: it really got on my nerves that this was read by the author. Thank God it's over.

    10. I'm not sure why this book was so highly recommended. It was a complete bore. The author's writing style was a distraction (ex. Anddddc.). The ending was all Hollywood. Meh.

    11. After reading Water for Elephants and loving it, I thought I would look into reading another adult fiction book. After looking at various websites for a “good” book to read, I ended up coming across Oprah’s summer reading book list, A Small Hotel being one of her picks. I read the summary on B&N and also some readers’ opinions about the book on GoodReads and thought I would give it a try. Told without chapters, the best way I can describe this book is one that slowly builds tension a [...]

    12. See it in the catalog here: haines.evergreencatalog/opNovember 2011This is a quiet, thoughtful novel set in present-day New Orleans. Robert Olen Butler, an eloquent writer, pulls off a difficult story-line in a way that only a seasoned writer like himself could. Michael and Kelly Hays are divorcing, and the novel works its way back in time to understand how two human beings came to be married and what, over time, made them fall apart. I loved the way Butler doesn't pick sides: he loves both of h [...]

    13. Being speechless after reading a book certainly makes it hard to write a coherent review but I’m going to do my best. While this book deals with a married couple, I think everyone who has come to the ending of a failed relationship can relate to this story: the melancholy, the outsider interference, the fog that envelopes you and keeps you physically moving forward in the world while remaining emotional adrift. When first starting the book, I was worried about the “flashbacks” that were me [...]

    14. I found a "Small Hotel" to be a very realistic and heartbreaking portrayal of a couple's life leading up to the dissolution of their marriage. The novel tells the story of their marriage through flashbacks that span the years and bring us back to the present time on the day their divorce is supposed to be final. Although the demise of a marriage is sad,I found Michael's inability to to say the words I love you to his wife or daughter to be the saddest reality of the situation. I sympathize with [...]

    15. dallasnews/entertainmeThe author, known for his risk-taking, offers a quiet but well-executed story about a disintigrating marriage FICTIONA Small HotelRobert Olen Butler(Grove, $24)Some of literature's greatest plots would have been ruined by modern technology. Take Romeo and Juliet — if those lovesick teenagers had been able to text each other, there would have been no mix-ups over who was dead and who wasn't. And what if Jane Eyre could have gone online to learn that Mr. Rochester was alrea [...]

    16. Author: Robert Olen Butler Title: A Small HotelDescription (source): Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler has written fiction about far-ranging topics including hell, extraterrestrials, and the Vietnam War. With A Small Hotel, his twelfth novel, he has turned his attention to a new topic—the complexities of a male-female relationship—and delivers a beautifully told story of love, loss, and redemption.Set in contemporary New Orleans but working its way back in time, A Small Hotel chronicl [...]

    17. This is the story of Michael and Kelly Hays. It tells us of how they met, married, lived and fell apart. Michael is a lawyer and an emotionally distant man. He has been raised to believe that simply by "being there" he has expressed his emotions. This is learned behavior from his emotionally distant father. His father also teaches him that saying "I love you" is nothing more than words.Kelly is a woman who deeply feels and needs to hear the words from her husband but never pushes him to say thos [...]

    18. A wonderfully written short novel about a romantic triangle that becomes, as the New York Times put it, "an interrogation of the limitations and uses of language." The principals are just three in number: Michael, a Pensacola lawyer who believes that loving someone means never having to say "I love you"; his wife Kelly, who instead of signing their divorce papers has driven to New Orleans with plans to commit suicide in the hotel where they first made love; and Michael's new girlfriend Laurie, w [...]

    19. Kelly and Michael are getting divorced. On the day it is to be finalized, Kelly goes to "their" hotel room in New Orleans while Michael is with his new girlfriend at a costume ball. Each of them review their memories of their relationship, and what this means for their futures.The story is told by cutting the today moments with flashbacks from the past. At times this was a bit confusing as there were no real segues. Quite often it jumped back and forth, and I found myself re-reading parts to und [...]

    20. Robert Olen Butler is one of my favorite writers. He is a literary champion, and I love all of his books. This was no exception. It was darker and more contemplative than some of his quirkier stuff (Hell, Mr. Spaceman, Tabloid Dreams, etc) but that doesn't mean it was any less affecting. One of my favorite things about this book was the almost 'stream-of-consciousness' writing he did throughout; there were some sentences that went on for multiple pages. And I didn't even realize it until it was [...]

    21. Are you in the mood for a heavy and deep read revolving around the end of a marriage? Then "A Small Hotel" is for you. Butler masterfully weaves the story of Michael & Kelly, a 40-something couple in the process of ending their marriage. On what is supposed to be the day of their divorce, we hear each of their voices as they look back over the 25+ years of their relationship. For Kelly, that day comes and she is unable to walk into the court to finalize the divorce. Instead she heads to the [...]

    22. Another smash hit. But here's the thing about reading literature: There rarely is an explosion. Cops aren't running in every direction, serial killers or monsters or sifi planets aren't the story. Butler delivers in A Small Hotel exactly what he did in his Pulitzer novel and the tons of other award winning novels behind his name, literary prose telling us in moment by moment sensuous experience about humanity. This is a simple story of a husband dumping his wife for the younger woman. The wife a [...]

    23. Insightful; extremely well-written. I loved that Butler's narrative showed the same events, as emotionally experienced by each spouse. He juxtaposed their understanding of each shared experience through the prism of each one's flawed and baggage-laden perspective. I found it to be both ordinary and profoundly sensitive; masterfully done, but with a light hand. Interestingly, most of my book club "hated" it; they thought the protagonists should just have communicated their needs & "gotten ove [...]

    24. Starting with the day their divorce is to be finalized in court, the story of Kelly and Michael, alternate between the present and the past. Set in New Orleans, we're taken to the small hotel in which Kelly and Michael's relationship began more than 20 years ago and then back to the present where there's a bottle of Scotch and a bottle of pills in Room 303.The author's method of switching time periods delivers memories of both Kelly and Michael very successfully and we gradually understand not j [...]

    25. A Small Hotel is the engaging story of a couple at the end of their twenty-four year old marriage. The prose is beautiful, lyrical, almost poetic; however, the frequent flashbacks and viewpoint changes sometimes made the story (written in a stream of consciousness style) confusing. Robert Olen Butler writes the longest sentences EVER, but his style works and creates a mood of tension and desperation. I expected a different ending, yet this story will stick with me for some time.

    26. Butler will go to the quasi-happy ending and after reading so much contemporary fiction, I find the almost happy ending refreshing. Butler does a masterful job of laying the emotional groundwork for a couple in crisis and how the crisis comes about, but by telling it in flashbacks, plays against pre-conceived notions and cultural prejudices to show how our past infringes and enhances our present. A Small Hotel has a big heart.

    27. It must be very difficult to write a book that repeatedly flips from one time frame to another. I know it is very difficult to read a book like that unless it is exceptionally well done. This was acceptably well done. I liked the set-up. One weekend, many memories and a big fat dollop of mental illness.

    28. My first read of Butler's. An interestingly woven literary piece about a dissolving marriage. I did wish for more in terms of Michael and Kelly's respective needs and felt "darling" was a bit overused in terms of a way to note affection.

    29. Very different writing style from what I'm accustomed to, but it is a jewel of a story -- taking place entirely in one critical day, as a divorcing couple reflects, separately, on their past and what brought them to this point. From about midway through, I couldn't put it down.

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