Hotel Silence by Auour Ava Olafsdottir


Dear Fellow Reader,

No, I did not misspell the name of the author of Hotel Silence. The author is Icelandic. Yep, that is a new one for me. I don’t think I have ever read an Icelandic author before.

Did you read A Man Called Ove? That book was written by a Swedish author and I would compare the feel of the book to that one.  Not the plot but the feel when you are reading it.  I don’t know if it is the way the books are translated or if it is a style. It is different from what I normally read.

Hotel Silence is about Jonas Ebeneser.  Jonas is unhappy. His Mother is living in a home and is confused. His wife has left him and has informed him that his daughter, Waterlily, is not really his daughter. He is not seeing anything in the future that holds much interest for him. So, he gets a tattoo of a Waterlily over his heart and contemplates borrowing a rifle from his neighbor/friend Svanur.  He does borrow the rifle but then worries that Waterlily will find his body. He doesn’t want that to happen.

He then decides to go to a place that has been scarred by war. In his mind, he could accidentally step on a landmine or get caught in the crossfire. He decides on a country, books a one-way ticket and makes a reservation at a hotel. He packs his bags although he doesn’t take much as he isn’t planning on living long. At the last minute, he grabs his toolbox and takes it with him.

“As I reflect on this further, I exclude the option of not being found. Waterlily would certainly spend her whole life searching for me and ultimately the pain would be too much of a burden. Instead, I will go on a trip abroad and Waterlily and Mom will get me back in a small tidy box.”

The toolbox is significant in his life as he has always fixed things. He takes it as he never knows if he will have to put up a hook. You might wonder why someone who is going to kill himself would need to put up a hook, but you just never know.

He arrives at the hotel with another guest, a movie star. The hotel is not in good shape, there were no visitors during the war and the hotel needs to be put back together. A brother/sister team are taking care of the hotel for their aunt, the owner.  There is one other guest in the hotel.  The siblings are happy because suddenly having three guests means that perhaps the business will pick up.

Jonas gets to his room and sees somethings that need to be fixed and he fixes them. The sister notices and asks him to fix other things. Through working in the hotel, he finds out more about the sister, the hotel,  and other people in the town.  And the people in town find out that he can fix things.

So this is another book where I think the description of the book falls short of showing the nature of the book. It is the word choice and subtle humor found in the book that make it a worthwhile read.  It is hard to convey that when you are just describing the plot.

It is not a long book. It is a nice little read. I find it refreshing to read this writing style. The characters are drawn differently. I am not sure I could do a steady diet of this style but it is refreshing occasionally.

Thanks for reading!

About Carol Early Cooney

I love to read. I love to share my thoughts on books and hope to hear what you think also. Looking to see what books I read beyond those I write about? Check out my Goodreads!
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