Based Upon Availability
  • Alternative view 1 of Based Upon Availability
  • Alternative view 2 of Based Upon Availability

Based Upon Availability

3.8 9
by Alix Strauss
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

From the very first page of this stunning novel, readers are drawn into the lives of eight seemingly ordinary women who pass through Manhattan's swanky Four Seasons Hotel. While offering sanctuary to some, solace to others, the hotel captures their darkest moments as they grapple with family, sex, power, love, and death.

Trish obsesses over her best friend's

…  See more details below

Overview

From the very first page of this stunning novel, readers are drawn into the lives of eight seemingly ordinary women who pass through Manhattan's swanky Four Seasons Hotel. While offering sanctuary to some, solace to others, the hotel captures their darkest moments as they grapple with family, sex, power, love, and death.

Trish obsesses over her best friend's wedding and dramatic weight loss. Robin wants revenge after a lifetime of abuse at the hands of her older sister. Anne is single, lonely, and suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Drug-addicted rock star Louise needs to dry out. Southerner turned wannabe Manhattanite Franny is envious of her neighbors' lives. Sheila wants to punish her boyfriend for returning to his wife. Ellen so desperately wants children that she insists she's pregnant to her disbelieving husband. And Morgan, the hotel manager—haunted by the memory of her dead sister—is the thread that weaves these women's lives together.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Strauss's stellar first novel (after story collection The Joy of Funerals) chronicles the loneliness of New Yorkers loosely connected by the swanky Four Seasons hotel. Hotel manager Morgan, Strauss's strongest protagonist, longs for the company of her older sister, Dale, who died of leukemia as a child. She's in a go-nowhere relationship and hoping to find a friend in Trish Hemingway, an artist and gallery owner who reminds her of Dale. Trish, meanwhile, is coming to terms with growing apart from her best friend, and she's not fully over her fiancé, who left her shortly before they were to be married. Subplots play out and scenes are revisited courtesy of a number of perspectives—hotel employees, friends and family, hotel guests—creating a near mosaic with twinges of darkness, thanks largely to the strange and unexpected things that go on behind hotel doors: the s&m gear Morgan steals after snooping in a guest's room, an abused woman found tied to a bed. Strauss's ending, which strives to be hopeful, comes off as abrupt; otherwise, this is quite sublime. (June)
Bookclubcheerleader.com
“Imminently entertaining…an insightful and engrossing character study of eight women not so very different than you or I. Looking past their superficial differences, you will find yourself identifying, in at least some small measure, with each and every one of them—like it or not!”
New York Post
“Colorful writing...Strauss takes on famed New York lodging the Four Seasons, filling the storied hostelry with colorful women characters who share a common human bond.”
Booklist
“Mesmerizing...the characters in this moving novel are achingly sympathetic, their plights eminently relatable.”
Baltimore Morning Sun
“Strauss has a knack for inserting the kinds of surprises that shock but also strengthen the impact of the novel. ”
More.com
“Strauss has a knack for inserting the kinds of surprises that shock but also strengthen the impact of the novel. ”
Elle
“This sharp and brilliant novel shows that truth cannot be seen from the outside. You’ll absorb every anecdote’s last detail as real human connection resurfaces and these women take steps to become the people they’ve always dreamed they’d be.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Mesmerizing”
Liz Smith
“This is the classic read-it-in-one-big-gulp book. Or spend several days at the beach with it; compelling from first page to last — edgy, moving, human.”
Dani Shapiro
“BASED UPON AVAILABILITY is like a beautifully-wrapped gift box, full of unexpected pleasures. Alix Strauss proves herself to be an astute and deeply feeling observer of human nature.”
Shari Goldhagen
“There’s a story behind every room at Manhattan’s famed Four Seasons Hotel, and in her engaging novel Alix Strauss weaves them together in a dark and complicated tapestry. From the seemingly put-together manager to the aging rock star, every character has a secret and nothing is what it seems.”
Darin Strauss
“Alix Strauss is one of the most enjoyable writers in this or any country. Based Upon Availability is fun, smart and beautiful.”
Jennifer Belle
“It’s Eloise from the Plaza, now 32 and running the hotel, with a hint of the S&M of Mary Gaitskill and the elegant precision of Lorrie Moore—and the touch of Strauss’s own signature macabre that I adore.”
Kirkus Reviews
From Strauss (stories: The Joy of Funerals, 2003, etc.), a novel concerning a Manhattan Four Seasons manager who witnesses the alarmingly bleak lives of women (herself included) confronting the loss of youth. Morgan, 32, is haunted by her sister Dale's death from leukemia when both were children. She alone in her family appears to still mourn Dale, and she can't get close to her mother, who cares only for conspicuous consumption and her clique of ladies who lunch. Morgan has seen her Uncle Marty, a prominent shrink, escorting female patients to rooms at the Midtown Four Seasons, where she's division manager. Morgan's inner emptiness-she's just broken up with her too-dull, too-safe boyfriend Bernard-prompts her to take brief vacations on the wild side while at work. There's the busboy she trysts with in the kitchen pantry. There are the hotel rooms she "inspects" at random, pilfering objects including an SM leather brace, which she finds oddly comforting to wear. Morgan encounters other women-guests, vendors, employees or clients of the Four Seasons-each of whom occupies her own section of the novel. Anne, a novice concierge, is obsessed with luck, charms and omens. Svelte, elegant Trish, adopted child of famous parents, struggles to distinguish herself, opening a gallery and hosting a weight-loss party for her BFF Olive, who, distressingly, is shedding Trish along with the extra pounds. Ellen, traumatized by two miscarriages, is baffled by the refusal of her husband and gynecologist to believe she's several months pregnant. Mississippi native Franny, despite a lucrative career and a nice apartment, envies her blissfully coupled and child-blessed neighbors. Aging rocker Louise checks into the Four Seasons to detox. Trouble is, without coke, booze and pills, the space inside Lou's head is as claustrophobic as her locked hotel room. Robin, a downtrodden younger sister, takes bizarre revenge on her manipulative sibling Vicki. Despite some unpolished prose, these New York stories, utterly wrenching with pessimistic undercurrents, will remind some readers of Parker-as in Dorothy, not Sarah Jessica.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061845260
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/08/2010
Pages:
340
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are saying about this

Jennifer Belle
“It’s Eloise from the Plaza, now 32 and running the hotel, with a hint of the S&M of Mary Gaitskill and the elegant precision of Lorrie Moore—and the touch of Strauss’s own signature macabre that I adore.”
Darin Strauss
“Alix Strauss is one of the most enjoyable writers in this or any country. Based Upon Availability is fun, smart and beautiful.”
Shari Goldhagen
“There’s a story behind every room at Manhattan’s famed Four Seasons Hotel, and in her engaging novel Alix Strauss weaves them together in a dark and complicated tapestry. From the seemingly put-together manager to the aging rock star, every character has a secret and nothing is what it seems.”
Dani Shapiro
“BASED UPON AVAILABILITY is like a beautifully-wrapped gift box, full of unexpected pleasures. Alix Strauss proves herself to be an astute and deeply feeling observer of human nature.”
Liz Smith
“This is the classic read-it-in-one-big-gulp book. Or spend several days at the beach with it; compelling from first page to last — edgy, moving, human.”

Read More

Meet the Author

Alix Strauss is a lifestyle trend writer who appears on national morning and talk shows. Her articles have been published in the New York Times, Marie Claire, Time, and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications. She is the author of The Joy of Funerals, Have I Got a Guy for You, and Death Becomes Them: Unearthing the Suicides of the Brilliant, the Famous, and the Notorious.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >