(CCLaP is dedicated to reviewing as many contemporary books as possible, including self-published volumes; click here to learn how to submit your own book for possible review, although be warned that it needs to have been published within the last 18 months to be considered. For the complete list of all books reviewed here, as well as the next books scheduled to be read, click here.)
Hotels of North America
By Rick Moody
Little, Brown and Company / Hachette
Reviewed by Jason Pettus
So before anything else, I should mention that I've never read the two big early books that first made Rick Moody famous, 1992's Garden State and 1994's The Ice Storm, so have no basis for comparing his newer books to this one; but that said, I've been hugely disappointed by the handful of his books I've read since then, with this newest from 2015 being no exception. Ostensibly an epistolatory novel in which a motivational speaker's frequent Yelp-type online reviews of North American hotels can be added together to present a deep portrait of his life and loves, the actual manuscript published under this title doesn't even begin to hold up to the premise; even just the second and third reviews of the book are actually set in Europe, not North America, while the fifth writeup isn't a review of a hotel at all, but a story about the narrator sleeping in his car at an IKEA parking lot one night, and the narratives themselves don't even pretend to sound like actual reviews, instead being fully fleshed-out literary short stories that contain no mystery, symbolism, or epistolatory elements at all, the main reason I picked this up in the first place. This would be bad enough, but then when you add the fact that the narrator is an insufferably pretentious ass, who talks in the overblown purplish prose of a character from a Victorian novel, you're left with a book that wasn't even worth the time it took me to travel to my neighborhood library and check it out. Eventually I'll get around to reading those two widely admired early novels of his, just to see whether the hype about them is deserved; but this newest one is a real stinker, and is not recommended to a general audience.
Out of 10: 1.6