The Paragon Hotel was the selection for my February book club. I love Lyndsay Faye. It is always wonderful to find an author who not only writes a good suspenseful yarn but also a writer who has a delightful way with words.
Although the Paragon Hotel is a story filled with murder, robbery, and disguise, it is written using charming colloquialisms and vivid descriptions of the cultural milieu at the time.
“The atmosphere pulses, cigar-dank and gritty. I can practically hear the rushed calls of next time, old sport, as the rats scattered. It’s identical to every other gin and faro joint in these United States of Nonsense with a single exception.
This is now my gin joint” (pg107).
The novel possesses two timelines. One that takes place in the present where Alice has found herself on a train heading for Portland after suffering a gunshot wound. She befriends a handsome porter and ends up at a hotel filled with an assortment of fascinating characters. The second storyline occurs in the past and consists of Alice’s life growing up in New York amidst another assortment of fascinating characters most of whom are members of the mafia.
I loved our narrator Alice aka Nobody. Although her life is riddled with more than just bullets she proves to be one of the most spectacular heroines in literature I’ve ever read. She is smart and brave, resourceful and cunning and incredibly good-natured considering her circumstances.
I want Alice as a friend. The pages where she and the character Blossom are sitting up in Blossom’s room drinking whiskey out of “cut glass tumblers” and discussing life are some of my favourites in the book. Their bantering is entertaining and reflective of a friendship we all wish we had.
Lindsay Faye is a guaranteed delightful read. She is an author who easily transports her readers into a land of story.