Laura van den Berg: The Third Hotel

TUE, AUG 7, 2018 (54:27)

In Havana, Cuba, a widow tries to come to terms with her husband’s death―and the truth about their marriage―in Laura van den Berg’s surreal, mystifying story of psychological reflection and metaphysical mystery.

Shortly after Clare arrives in Havana, Cuba, to attend the annual Festival of New Latin American Cinema, she finds her husband, Richard, standing outside a museum. He’s wearing a white linen suit she’s never seen before, and he’s supposed to be dead. Grief-stricken and baffled, Clare tails Richard, a horror film scholar, through the newly tourist-filled streets of Havana, clocking his every move. As the distinction between reality and fantasy blurs, Clare finds grounding in memories of her childhood in Florida and of her marriage to Richard, revealing her role in his death and reappearance along the way. The Third Hotel is a propulsive, brilliantly shape-shifting novel from an inventive author at the height of her narrative powers.

+ BIO: Laura van den Berg

Laura van den Berg is the author of two story collections, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us and The Isle of Youth, and the novel Find Me, which was selected as a “Best Book of 2015” by NPR, Time Out New York, and BuzzFeed, among others, in addition to being longlisted for the 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize. Laura was raised in Florida and earned her M.F.A. at Emerson College. She is the recipient of a Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Bard Fiction Prize, an O. Henry Award, and a MacDowell Colony fellowship. She has recently taught creative writing in the M.F.A. Program Columbia CB1University and at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. At present, Laura lives in Cambridge, MA with her husband, the writer Paul Yoon, and their dog, Oscar. She is a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Fiction at Harvard University.

Photo: Harvard Book Store

+ BIO: Paul Yoon

Paul Yoon was born in New York City. His first book, Once the Shore, was selected as a New York Times Notable Book and a Best Debut of the Year by National Public Radio. His novel Snow Hunters won the 2014 Young Lions Fiction Award. His new collection, The Mountain, will appear in August. A recipient of a 5 under 35 Award from the National Book Foundation and a fellowship from the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, he is currently a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer at Harvard University along with his wife, the fiction writer Laura van den Berg.

Photo: Harvard Book Store

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