The Swank Hotel

Lucy Corin. Graywolf, $17 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-64445-066-6
Corin’s insightful latest (following her collection One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses) interweaves themes of human connection, mental illness, sisterhood, and hope through the story of a missing person. Em is accustomed to her younger sister, Ad’s disappearances, the recurrent consequence of a debilitating psychosis that has afflicted Ad for years. So, after Ad goes missing again, Em and her parents commence the familiar search, restlessly going about their days amidst “the ordinary suspense” of Ad’s vanishing. But after Ad is found unconscious in a hotel room and placed on life support while in a coma, Em finds herself utterly shaken, reflecting on her understanding of Ad’s illness as her own grip on reality begins to falter. Though the story’s narrative course proves occasionally circuitous and tricky to follow, the peripheral stories generally serve to unearth the characters’ innermost feelings, shining a light on anxieties that are not so easily articulated. Marked by Corin’s limber voice, this brims with genuine depth and humor, particularly when unacquainted characters discover previously-unseen commonalities, as is the case with Em and her gruff coworker, Frank, a former manager whose own relationship with his lover Jack is marked by instability. Delightfully askew, Corin’s work offers a memorable exploration of how a loved one’s mental illness can impact an individual’s outlook. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/12/2021
Release date: 10/05/2021
Genre: Fiction
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