The first novel I’ve read from Irving that I considered to be one of my favorites and possibly one of his best though basically it doesn’t have any plot to start with. The novel is about the Berry’s, a quirky and bizarre family. How they lived their life full of surprises, tragedies, death and realization. It starts with the overwhelming desire of the Berry father to run a hotel and the belief that a family can survive a life living in a hotel. The Berry’s consists of the affectionate mother, (who I thought was one of the most sympathetic characters in the story), Frank, their eldest homosexual son, Franny, the weirdest and their beautiful daughter, John, the narrator (and the one whose always in crisis), Lily the writer and Egg the egg.
The Hotel New Hampshire is a hilarious, heartbreaking and the most touching family saga I’ve ever read. Every character will grab the readers’ attention, sympathies’ and love. Just when things start to get happy, then tragedy strikes (an Irving signature). The book though has many chapters, is in my opinion does have only two parts. I am not sure to say that Mr. Irving eliminates any other to make way for new characters (and to fully control them) because after you’ve gone to the second part, a realization that some certain characters do not to fit on the situation thus they should have to be eliminated.
This is the type of book I really hate to leave, not being overdramatic but I just really want to read more about them, of course it’s a saga so everyone has to say goodbye. After finishing this one, its people still lingers in my mind and I still wonder what they’re up to until now. It also contains the most readable lines I’ve ever read, it makes me stop and think until fully realizing its significance before continuing. Though it has a different plot, it came to my mind that it shares the same setting with the manga (comic) Maison Ikkoku from one of my most favorite manga-ka (comic artist), Rumiko Takahashi (creator of Inu Yasha, Ranma 1/2).
If I am to recommend an Irving novel to make you read more from him, this would probably the one I’ll pick together with his The Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meany and The World According to Garp. I highly recommend this one. The Hotel New Hampshire is also adapted to screen in 1984 .
Opening Sentence: The summer my father bought the bear, none of us was born-we weren’t even conceived: not Frank, the oldest; not Franny, the loudest; not me, the next; and not the youngest of us, Lilly and Egg.
Ending Sentence: You have to keep passing the open windows.