The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

This one is from the same writer who penned the outstanding Station Eleven, and so unsurprisingly, it has a slow, but very lyrical beginning.

Actually the whole book is a masterclass in literary fiction: absorbing prose that takes the time to build a host complex characters with equally complex motivations based around a number of time-switching story arcs based around a single event that everyone knows something about – a financial Ponzi scheme that’s about to collapse.

I think you’re either a fan of the time-switch story line, or you’re not. personally, I think you have to be either enormously confident or enormously talented to write a book you tell your reader the outcome in the first fifty pages. Now you have to keep them interested for the next four hundred. Fortunately, St. John Mandel falls into the “enormously talented” category .

So, the Ponzi scheme collapses and were treated to the before and after from the perspective of the people affected; how those involved justified themselves, and how their victims tried to rebuild their lives afterwards.

The book is probably the best thing I’ve read this year. Beautifully put together, poetic, and with just the right amount of technical detail to keep it absorbing, without becoming overwhelming. It’s hard to lock it down to any particular genre. It’s definitely not a romance, and it’s not a thriller either. It does have a sort of magical element to it I suppose, but really, it’s a story about ordinary people told in an extraordinary way.