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The Third Hotel

A novel by

"[A] future cult classic." —The New York Times Book Review

"There’s Borges and Bolaño, Kafka and Cortázar, Modiano and Murakami, and now Laura van den Berg." —The Washington Post

Finalist for the NYPL Young Lions Award. Named a Best Book of 2018 by The Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Electric Literature and Lit Hub. An August 2018 IndieNext Selection. Named a Summer 2018 Read by The Washington Post, Vulture, Nylon, Elle, BBC, InStyle, Refinery29,Bustle, O, the Oprah Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Harper's Bazaar, Conde Nast Traveler,Southern Living, Lit Hub, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn.

In Havana, Cuba, a widow tries to come to terms with her husband’s death—and the truth about their marriage—in Laura van den Berg’s surreal, mystifying story of psychological reflection and metaphysical mystery.

Shortly after Clare arrives in Havana, Cuba, to attend the annual Festival of New Latin American Cinema, she finds her husband, Richard, standing outside a museum. He’s wearing a white linen suit she’s never seen before, and he’s supposed to be dead. Grief-stricken and baffled, Clare tails Richard, a horror film scholar, through the newly tourist-filled streets of Havana, clocking his every move. As the distinction between reality and fantasy blurs, Clare finds grounding in memories of her childhood in Florida and of her marriage to Richard, revealing her role in his death and reappearance along the way. The Third Hotel is a propulsive, brilliantly shape-shifting novel from an inventive author at the height of her narrative powers.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"I've always been a huge fan of Laura van den Berg's work, but this novel took my breath away. The Third Hotel is a ghost story for grownups--when the search for clarity becomes obscure and reality is increasingly blurred. There is so much confidence and daring in her writing, but at the same time her slanted view of the world holds a kind of humility and clarity that makes it all feel so achingly human. Elegant, twisted, and propulsive, I loved it." - Claire Cameron

"In this gorgeous, frighteningly smart novel, a woman deranged by grief becomes an imposter in her own life. As inventive and inexorable as a dream, The Third Hotel is a devastating excavation of the unconscionable demands we place on those we love, and a profound portrait of the uncanny composite creature that is a marriage. Laura van den Berg is one of our best writers, an absolute marvel." - Garth Greenwell

"I love Laura van den Berg for her eeriness and her elegance, the way the fabric of her stories is woven on a slightly warped loom so that you read her work always a bit perturbed. The Third Hotel is artfully fractured, slim and singular; it's a book that sings, but always with a strange pressure more felt than heard beneath the song." - Lauren Groff

"After finishing The Third Hotel I found myself reeling for days. What a triumph of a book! Such a gorgeous, intelligent excavation of marriage, loss, art, flânerie. Simply spending time inside Laura van den Berg's elegant, muscular sentences has made me a better writer." - Kristen Iskandrian

"Always vivid . . . There's no denying [van den Berg's] skill at rendering this material; her sentences, at their best, are extraordinarily lucid, lodging places and people indelibly in memory . . . Read [The Third Hotel] as the inscrutable future cult classic it probably is, and let yourself be carried along by its twisting, unsettling currents." - J Robert Lennon

"I love the way Laura van den Berg writes. The Third Hotel is another of her beguiling little masterpieces. One that, with ruminative grace and sublime wit, answers and elucidates the question of what it means to be human." - Miriam Toews

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