Small Hotel

Butler,Robert Olen

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Small Hotel
Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Olen Butler's books have looked at topics as considerable and diverse as hell, extraterrestrials, and Vietnam. His acclaimed twelfth novel, A Small Hotel , chosen for O Magazine 's Summer Reading List, offers a more intimate scope as it chronicles the complexities of a disintegrating relationship over the course of twenty years. Set in contemporary New Orleans but working its way back in time, A Small Hotel follows the lives of Michael and Kelly Hays, a couple of the brink of divorce. On the day the Hays are due in court to finalize their separation, Kelly drives from her home in Pensacola and across the panhandle to New Orleans. She checks into room 303 at the Olivier House in the city's French Quarter-the hotel where she and Michael fell in love, and where she must now contemplate a startling decision that will hold devastating consequences for her family, including her nineteen-year-old daughter. Butler masterfully weaves scenes of the present with memories from the viewpoints of both Michael and Kelly-scenes that span two decades, taking the reader back to critical moments in the couple's relationship and revealing a passionate love tragically undone by miscommunication and insecurity.

Publisher: Grove, 2012
ISBN: 9780802145833


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Aug 21, 2014

I read his " A Good Scent from a Strange" and it is superb.

This effort is quite disappointing; the structure, multiple flashbacks of the key characters, the wordiness,etc. made reading laborious.

Very disappointing!

Jun 03, 2013
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A small gem of a novel about a couple facing divorce and struggling to find peace with their decision. On the day of their divorce the wife returns to the small hotel in New Orleans where they first spent the night together, while the husband takes his new girlfriend for a romantic weekend at a nearby Creole mansion. The story moves back and forth between the two as they each find themselves haunted by memories of their life together. Not only a poignant drama about love and loss but a beautifully written page-turner by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

Oct 15, 2011
  • Pen_Reads rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Quick easy read. You have to keep your focus to keep up with the time changes. Easier to read all at once than in small amounts so you can keep track of the time.

Jun 21, 2011

"On the official last day of her 20-year marriage, Kelly Hays sits in a New Orleans hotel room alone amid bottles of Scotch while her husband, Michael, checks into a different hotel with a sexy, decades-younger woman. But wait—don't take sides yet. Both husband and wife in Robert Olen Butler's deliciously, unapologetically romantic novel, A Small Hotel (Grove/Atlantic), are decent people in agony over their ruined love. Their emotions are complex, though hardly subtle. Michael wistfully recalls years earlier waltzing Kelly around the room and feeling "glad that her head was pressed hard against the side of his because the last thing in the world he wanted was to let this woman he loved see tears in his eyes. It makes no difference that they were happy tears." The empathetic, precise writing flirts with melodrama but never feels hackneyed. In less skillful hands, this story would be a guilty pleasure. Instead, it's just a pleasure."
Karen Holt


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Sep 17, 2011
  • Mary43 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Very intriguing writing. Kept me spell bound. Not the usual back and forth in time at all creative.


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