Beautifully descriptive prose of what I imagine Cuba to be, interweaves with what felt like a fever dream, from the perspective of a grieving widow. The book, The Third Hotel, is a glimpse of Van den Berg’s ability to write, however, it’s a little vague how the story all wraps up.
Clare, the main character, spots her dead husband on the Havana streets. She stalks him, he disappears into the alleys. She watches him buy mangos and then he fades from view. As her husband was a professor of horror films (really…there is such a thing), the horror, mystery and intrigue enter into the way the story is written. The book is not written as horror, but her attendance at a horror film festival is the backdrop, making it feel off kilter. This is the book that will have you flipping back into the chapters you just read to make certain you aren’t losing what you thought you read. The writer takes us on train rides and walks in search of the husband and answers for the main character.
During the reading of this novel, I wanted more. After completing the novel, I wanted even more. Van den Berg did not leave the reader with any answers. If you read novels that have clean endings, this one will not be satisfying to you. If you like novels that take you on a journey to help you come to your own conclusions, this might be a good fit. I was confused much of the time, even though the writing was excellent. For me, this was a three star read, but for others, I’m guessing it will be the best book they read this year.
Thank you to the publisher and #NetGalley for a pre-publication ebook in exchange for an honest review.
Reader, Traveler, Reviewer. Come join us as we travel the US in our RV. I review books.