Book Review


Rating: 3.5 / 5

I’m sharing an older title today, yet one that isn’t what I typically think of as a classic either. The Reading Women reading challenge included a prompt to read a work of translated fiction originally published before 1945. This wound up being the most challenging prompt to fill for me and I finally settled on GRAND HOTEL by Vicki Baum after seeing positive reviews and a few recommendations.

Originally published in Germany, GRAND HOTEL is set in 1920s Berlin and tell the stories of the varied occupants of a hotel. Occupants range from a World War I vet who has been severely injured in the war, an aging ballerina who is battling with her own fears over losing her career, a professional thief who preys on the occupants and a business man trying to help his company survive in troubling times. The stories interweave throughout the book in alternating and sometimes overlapping sections.

I have to admit I struggled to get into this book. It gets rave reviews on Goodreads, so I suspect that it was more me than the book itself, but it took me a while to get connected to the varied cast of characters and their separate stories. I did find the writing to be full of great descriptions and depictions of the characters’ lives. There are touches of humor throughout that I enjoyed as well.

While this one wasn’t really a hit for me, i am glad that the reading challenge did ask me to step outside of my comfort zone as the process did highlight to me that I don’t read enough translated fiction, especially translated fiction (and especially not classic translated fiction).

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