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Alix Strauss, Author . Harper $13.99 (340p) ISBN 978-0-06-184526-0

Strauss's stellar first novel (after story collection The Joy of Funerals ) chronicles the loneliness of New Yorkers loosely connected by the swanky Four Seasons hotel. Hotel manager Morgan, Strauss's strongest protagonist, longs for the company of her older sister, Dale, who died of leukemia as a child. She's in a go-nowhere relationship and hoping to find a friend in Trish Hemingway, an artist and gallery owner who reminds her of Dale. Trish, meanwhile, is coming to terms with growing apart from her best friend, and she's not fully over her fiancé, who left her shortly before they were to be married. Subplots play out and scenes are revisited courtesy of a number of perspectives—hotel employees, friends and family, hotel guests—creating a near mosaic with twinges of darkness, thanks largely to the strange and unexpected things that go on behind hotel doors: the s&m gear Morgan steals after snooping in a guest's room, an abused woman found tied to a bed. Strauss's ending, which strives to be hopeful, comes off as abrupt; otherwise, this is quite sublime. (June )

Reviewed on: 04/05/2010
Release date: 06/01/2010
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-199301-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-199302-2
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-199357-2
Compact Disc - 978-0-06-191218-4
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