Hotel (Object Lessons)
During the breakdown of an unhappy marriage, writer Joanna Walsh got a job as a hotel reviewer, and began to gravitate towards places designed as alternatives to home. Luxury, sex, power, anonymity, privacy…hotels are where our desires go on holiday, but also places where our desires are shaped by the hard realities of the marketplace. Part memoir and part meditation, this book visits a series of rooms, suites, hallways, and lobbies-the spaces and things that make up these modern sites of gathering and alienation, hotels.
Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.
“Walsh's writing has intellectual rigour and bags of formal bravery ... Hotel is a boldly intellectual work that repays careful reading. Its semiotic wordplay, circling prose and experimental form may prove a refined taste, but in its deft delineation of a complex modern phenomenon - and, perhaps, a modern malaise - it's a great success.” –Financial Times
“A slim, sharp meditation on hotels and desire. ... Walsh invokes everyone from Freud to Forster to Mae West to the Marx Brothers. She's funny throughout, even as she documents the dissolution of her marriage and the peculiar brand of alienation on offer in lavish place.” ―The Paris Review
“Evocative ... Walsh's strange, probing book is all the more affecting for eschewing easy resolution.” ―Publishers Weekly