19 April 2013

Imprint Friday: The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard

Welcome to Imprint Friday and today's featured imprint: Picador USA. Stop by each week to be introduced to a must-read title from one of my favorite imprints. I know you'll be adding many of these books to your wish list.

Ever since Anna Stothard's The Pink Hotel was long-listed for the Orange Prize, I've been curious about it. If you too missed the initial publication of this moving novel, you're in luck. Picador's paperback edition is due to be released on Tuesday, and I encourage you to pick up a copy.

Here's the publisher's summary:

A seventeen-year-old girl pieces together the mystery of her mother’s life and death among the bars and bedrooms of Los Angeles in this dazzling debut novel.

A raucous, drug-fueled party has taken over a boutique hotel on Venice Beach—it’s a memorial for Lily, the now-deceased, free-spirited proprietress of the place. Little do the attendees know that Lily’s estranged daughter—and the nameless narrator of this striking novel—is among them, and she has just walked off with a suitcase of Lily’s belongings.

Abandoned by Lily many years ago, she has come a long way to learn about her mother, and the stolen suitcase—stuffed with clothes, letters, and photographs—contains not only a history of her mother’s love life, but perhaps also the key to her own identity. As the tough, resourceful narrator tracks down her mother’s former husbands, boyfriends, and acquaintances, a risky reenactment of her life begins to unfold. Lily had a knack for falling in love with the wrong people, and one man, a fashion photographer turned paparazzo, has begun to work his sinuous charms on the young woman.

Told with high style and noirish flare, Anna Stothard’s The Pink Hotel is a powerfully evocative debut novel about wish fulfillment, reckless impulse, and how we discover ourselves.
Right from the first page, Anna Stothard sets the mood that prevails throughout the entire novel. Like our unnamed protagonist, we're dropped into the end of Lily's story and can't quite find a way to anchor her in reality based on the scant initial clues. Yet, like the girl, we are compelled to know and understand Lily, hoping that each fact or person will offer a key and let us in on the secrets. Who was this woman of multiple husbands, who left her three-year-old daughter, who was once a nurse turned model turned hotel owner, who rode motorcycles and wore silk dresses?

The Pink Hotel is difficult to describe. It's a well-proportioned mix of coming of age, contemporary commentary, and character study. But it's also an observational narrative, as told by the teen. The girl definitely has street smarts, but they are tempered by a level of naivete that befits her age and experience. At the same time, little escapes her attention, and it's the details she notices combined with her strong desire to connect with her mother that eventually help her get a handle on the past.

Stothard doesn't provide her protagonist with an easy path, but once you start reading The Pink Hotel, it's near-impossible to leave the teen on her own. Although you never learn the girl's name, you'll come to know her and hope she finds all she seeks.

I'll leave you with a passage I flagged to share:
At the bus stop everything was two-dimensional in the afternoon heat with the smoggy sunlight flattening the palm trees to the concrete buildings and the glassy yellow sky. Everything was stuck flat to everything else, like the cardboard cut-out background of a child's puppet theater. (p. 126)
Picador USA is a featured imprint on Beth Fish Reads. For more information about the imprint, visit the Picador's website. While there, take a look at the Picador book club and reading guides and sign up for their newsletters. For up-to-date news, don't miss their Tumblr site or Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.

Buy The Pink Hotel at an indie or at a bookstore near you. (Link leads to an affiliate program.)
Published by Macmillan / Picador 2013
ISBN-13: 9781250026804

Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).

8 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks 4/19/13, 7:28 AM  

I'm tired of boarding schools and abandoner-mothers, although I shouldn't complain about tired plotlines since I can't seem to get enough of post-apocalyptics!

Daryl 4/19/13, 9:10 AM  

i am with rhapsodyinbooks, i am totally addicted to YA novels about post-apocalyptics .. tho this does sound interesting

bermudaonion 4/19/13, 9:26 AM  

How did I miss this? It sounds right up my alley!

Christine 4/19/13, 11:22 AM  

I'm absolutely intrigued! Adding it to my list.

Zibilee 4/19/13, 12:03 PM  

I have this one, and bought it many months ago when it first came out, so now you've given me the excuse that I need to get started with it. I have heard from others that the name is misleading, and that it is a highly dramatic and rich novel, and your commentary really does reflect that. I will be reading this one soon. Hopefully, I love it too!

Sandy Nawrot 4/19/13, 12:05 PM  

We do seem to have heard from a lot of tortured teens, but I can easily get sucked in with great characters and writing. This was a good highlight. Love these imprints.

Yvonne@fiction-books 4/19/13, 2:02 PM  

Hi Beth F,

First glance at the cover and I thought "Oh No! Chicklit". Read on, then carry out a little more research about the author and her writing and I am completely hooked on all her books!

The books have strong, in depth storylines and some great sounding characterisations and wow! is that cover pink!!

Thanks for sharing and have a good weekend,

Yvonne

Michele 4/21/13, 11:15 PM  

You've certainly got my attention with this one....I'm definitely interested in tracking a copy down.

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