Hotel of the Saints – Review

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Hotel of the Saints by Ursula Hegi

Age: Adult

This book is a collection of short stories, mostly taking place in Washington State. The back synopsis coves everything I want to say about the contents of the book.

In the Hotel of the Saints, Hegi enters the perspectives of lovers and loners, eccentrics and artists, children and parents: a musician who tries to protect her daughter from loving a blind man; a seminary student yearns for the certainty of faith that belonged to him as a boy…

I’m never sure of how to review short story collections. All I can say about this book is that Hegi is a very talented and complex author. Her perspective is wide and each story is different. Although each story shares a common thread of isolation, and sadness, there are different levels, different people and different emotions linked together. There is an element of loss in each story. Either the character has lost something, is looking for something or is afraid of losing something or someone. This fear and the sense of loss is the catalyst for many of the actions and decisions taken by the characters. I wouldn’t call this collection uplifting, but it is engrossing and the reader can learn a lot about themselves through the though processes of the various characters.

Although each story is touching and can bring out unforeseen emotional responses in the reader, it was the last story that I really connected to. This is a story about two sisters living together with their elderly dog and the fear of losing their dog in the battle against his impending death. Having recently lost a beloved pet, I was holding back tears reading through this chapter. Hegi was able to articulate the connection we develop with animals, and the attachment that grows which is often more for us than for the animal.

If you have ever experienced loss or a sense of doubt, then at least one of these stories will resonate with you in some way.

Hotel of the Saints
by Ursula Hegi
Simon & Schuster, 2001
ISBN 0743227166
170 pages

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Find this book at your local library

Hotel of the Saints by Ursula Hegi

Book 4 of 2011

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