The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard
A seventeen-year-old London girl flies to Los Angeles for the funeral of her mother Lily, from whom she had been separated in her childhood. After stealing a suitcase of letters, clothes and photographs from her mum’s bedroom at the top of a hotel on Venice Beach, the girl spends her summer travelling around Los Angeles returning love letters and photographs to the men who had known her mother. As she discovers more about Mandy’s past and tries to re-enact her life, she comes to question the foundations of her own personality.
This book was not at all what I had initially expected. The title suggested something more fluffy and cutesy; instead this book was rich with emotions and a riveting plot.
For a debut novel, Stothard did an exceptional job. Her characters are rich and rounded. I particularly liked how the protagonist was always directly mentioned in regards to another person or event. She was Lily’s daughter. She was the thief. She was never just simply herself. For me, this added an element of mystery and anonymity. It made her struggle more universal. It was easy as a reader to be in tune with her thoughts and emotions.
The world crafted in The Pink Hotel is extraordinary. Downtown Los Angeles is explored and the specific details are right on point. The reader is absorbed into the mysterious world that was the life of Lily.
Drugs. Depression. Love. Secrets. This book has everything. All the workings of a great novel are finely tuned into this rich story.
I cannot wait for the next creation by this author.
Thanks to Raincoast Canada for the review copy.