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The Hotel New Hampshire


The Hotel New Hampshire

THE HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE is far and away the quirkiest of John
Irving's novels. The Berry family raises the bar on dysfunction to
dizzying heights, featuring characters each of whom stand alone in
their memorable kinks: The detached Father, oblivious to the antics
and pain of his offspring; Mother, who floats on the edges of her
family's lives; the children, Frank, Franny, John, and later, Lilly
and Egg; Sorrow the dog, and the bear on the motorcycle. Family
friends, Freud, Iowa Bob and Suzie the Bear --- a human so ashamed
of her appearance that she walks about in a bear suit --- all
become a part of the extended family in strange and wonderful

The narrator, middle child John, tells the story of the family as
they try to live a normal life in hotels on two different
continents. At once heart breaking and hilarious, THE HOTEL NEW
HAMPSHIRE works as a novel simply because John Irving breathes life
into these diverse characters without making them hokey, maudlin or
pathetic. Written three years after the best-selling THE WORLD
ACCORDING TO GARP, most readers, whether they liked the book or
not, came away convinced that here was a serious novelist at work,
possessed with a wondrous imagination and gift for

Like the prior novel, GARP, HOTEL was made into a Hollywood movie.
Irving liked HOTEL better than he liked GARP, contrary to most of
the moviegoers. He discusses the transition of book to movie in MY

As in most Irving novels, the plot of HOTEL is complex and
multilayered, sprinkled liberally with flashback. Irving demands
much of his readers, wielding words like weapons, layering plot
upon plot in a massive, festive concoction of fantasy, pathos and

Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 22, 2011

The Hotel New Hampshire
by John Irving

  • Publication Date: August 30, 1995
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 034540047X
  • ISBN-13: 9780345400475