Ladies' Night at Finbar's Hotel

( 3 )


A year has passed since the closing of Finbar's Hotel, a down-on-its-heels hotel on the Dublin quays. Now, with a rock star as its new owner, it has once more opened its doors-and Finbar's has become an ultra-chic gathering spot. Ladies' Night at Finbar's Hotel describes one night in its newly illustrious surroundings-a night filled with adventure and comic romp. In one room a man surreptitiously helps his wife's friend get pregnant, while next door a businesswoman battles her father. And down the hall, a nun ...

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A year has passed since the closing of Finbar's Hotel, a down-on-its-heels hotel on the Dublin quays. Now, with a rock star as its new owner, it has once more opened its doors-and Finbar's has become an ultra-chic gathering spot. Ladies' Night at Finbar's Hotel describes one night in its newly illustrious surroundings-a night filled with adventure and comic romp. In one room a man surreptitiously helps his wife's friend get pregnant, while next door a businesswoman battles her father. And down the hall, a nun struggles with the most important mission of her life. A fabulous mix of pathos and high humor, this is a sardonic tour of the gamut of human experience told by Ireland's finest modern storytellers. Maeve Binchy has written numerous bestsellers, most recently Tara Road. Dermot Bolger is the author of six novels and edited The Vintage Book of Contemporary Irish Fiction. Clare Boylan has written six novels and several nonfiction works, including The Literary Companion to Cats. Emma Donoghue is the author of Stirfry and Kissing the Witch, among other works. Anne Haverty's writing has been short-listed for the Whitbread Award. Éilís N' Dhuibhne has published poetry, short fiction, children's books, and two novels. Kate O'Riordan writes for stage and screen, and has written two novels including The Bray House. Deirdre Purcell recently adapted her novel Falling for a Dancer as a four-part serial for BBC television.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"What an interesting book this is, teeming with the best of Irish humor for all tastes. . . . It should be enjoyed by everyone."-Irish World
"Together, they've produced a playful, light, highly entertaining book."-Irish Times
"Beneath the humor, whimsy and outright craziness, Ladies' Night at Finbar's Hotel hits at the shallowness of current social pretensions and offers a cautious optimism about women's lives today."-The Times Literary Supplement
Times Literary Supplement
Ladies' Night is witty, if less raucously funny than the earlier volume, less stereotyped and more personally felt...Beneath the humor, whimsy and outright craziness, Ladies' Night hits at the shallowness of current social pretensions and offers a cautious optimism about women's lives today.
Times (London)
This is almost as entertaining to read as it must have been to write.
Daily Telegraph
Although art is usually more about megalomania than democracy, the talents on display here make a case for the collective. The seven women writers make excellent use of the hotel setting. Sex is the common thread which connects each room, but it is handled imaginatively...There is enough emotional tension and raw hope under the roof of Finbar's Hotel to last the night.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fans of the original shabby landmark Dublin hotel memorialized in Bolger's serial short story collection Finbar's Hotel may be disconcerted at the new, hip management, but just as in the previous book, the ingenious formula brings together a host of Ireland's notable writers in an impressive collaboration. Seven authors, including Maeve Binchy, Clare Boylan, Anne Haverty and Deirdre Purcell, each contribute a chapter describing the adventures of different guests in the hotel, but none is attributed, so it's up to the reader to guess who wrote what. The volume opens with the news story that the once-famously seedy Finbar has been renovated by a rock-'n'-roll couple and has become Dublin's premier hot spot for celebrities and other glamorous folks. But not all the guests fit in so well in this posh milieu, making for unexpected encounters both dramatic and humorous. In Room 101, a plainspoken, humble Dublin man has offered to "help out" his beloved wife's high-powered best friend--by providing the sperm she needs to get pregnant. In Room 102, a clothing designer's first Dublin fashion show is disrupted by her overbearing, manic, ultimately tragic father, while another woman attempts to catch her husband in flagrante delicto in 106. Finbar's cosmopolitan refurbishment reflects the new Ireland's Celtic Tiger boosterism, but the chic atmosphere doesn't lend itself to the cohesion of a novel as well as did the nostalgic air of the old hotel. Only Detta Hamena in 105, a chambermaid from the old days, bridges the hostelry's history. However, the amusing crossovers of recurrent characters, such as the unnamed musical celebrity who appears in the charming nun-on-the-run tale and who throws a fit in another story, capture some of the hotel's charm and add wit and style to Bolger's creative concept. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Developed and edited by Dermot Bolger, this sequel to the well-received Finbar's Hotel crosses two genres: the short story and the novel. Each chapter, written by a different Irish author, ranging from the well-known Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell to the lesser-known Eilis Ni Dhuibhne, depicts a pivotal moment in the life of a woman staying in one of the rooms of the lavishly restored and renovated Finbar's Hotel. While one woman attempts artificial insemination with sperm from her best friend's husband, another loses an important client while dealing with her intractable father, and yet another waits to meet the son she gave up for adoption in another lifetime. What makes this collective novel so remarkable is the care that has gone into capturing the physical details of the hotel. All the women are memorable, as are the two female hotel staff who reappear from chapter to chapter. While styles vary, each story is polished and sparkles with life. This highly recommended work will be of particular interest to fiction readers who would like to venture into short story collections.--Caroline M. Hallsworth, Sudbury P.L., Ont. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156008662
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/6/2000
  • Series: Harvest Original Series
  • Edition description: 1 HARVEST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 276
  • Sales rank: 1,308,944
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Sarah's eyes were as dry as paper. Jet lag always made her feel ten years older. She stared past the blonde chignon of the receptionist in Finbar's Hotel. Twenty to one, according to the clock on the right. One take away eight was minus seven. No, try again. Thirteen take away eight was five. Twenty to five, so, Seattle time. Morning or evening? Wednesday or Thursday?

She shut here eyes and told herself not to panic. A day either way would make no difference. Please let it not make any difference.

"Ms Lord?" The Dutch or Danish receptionist was holding out the key for Room 101.

Sarah took it and tried to smile. There were four different clocks behind the desk, she realized now. The one she'd been reading was New York, not Dublin. So here the time was a quarter to six, but according to her body clock it was...

Forget it.

Bag in hand, she stumbled across the marble floor towards the lifts.

A young assistant porter in Edwardian stripes brought up her double espresso ten minutes later. Sarah felt better as soon as she smelt it. She even flirted with the boy a little. Simply a matter of "That was quick," and a tilt of the eyebrows, just to shake herself awake. He answered very perkily. Every little hormone helps. Even if, to a boy like that, thirty-eight probably seemed like ninety.

Her heart thudded as the caffeine hit home. She dragged the chair over to the window; sunlight was the best cure for jet lag. Not that there was ever much sunlight to catch in Ireland, but at least it was a clear evening. Her eyes rested on the long glitter of the river as she drained her espresso. Time was you couldn't even have got a filter coffee in Dublin; this town certainly had come on. You could probably get anything you needed now if you paid enough. She winced at the thought, too close to home.

Knotted into the starchy robe, she flexed her feet on the pale red and black carpet and considered the dress spread out on the bed. She knew it was comical, but she couldn't decide what to wear. This was a big night, most definitely, but not the kind of occasion covered in the book on manners her mother gave her for her eighteenth birthday. (Sarah still kept it on her cookery-book shelf in Seattle; guests found it hilarious.) Whatever she wore tonight had to be comfortable, but with a bit of glamour to keep her spirits up. Back home, this sleeveless dress in cream linen had seemed perfect, but now it was creased in twenty places. Like her face.

Sarah was tempted to keep on the dressing gown, but it might frighten Padraic. She wished she knew him better. Why hadn't she paid him a bit more attention at all those Christmas dos? She was sure there was a chapter on that in her etiquette manual: Take the trouble to talk to everyone in the room. Last year her entire corporation had undergone a week's training in Power Networking, which boiled down to the same thing, with motives bared. Work the party. You never know when someone might turn out to be useful.

Compilation Copyright (c) 1999 by Dermot Bolger. All stories copyright (c) 1999 by Maeve Binchy, Clare Boylan, Emma Donaghue, Anne Haverty, Eilis Ni Dhuibhne, Kate O'Riordan, and Deirdre Purcell, it being understood that copyright (c) for each story is in the name of its respective author. It is the desire of the writers not to disclose authorship of the individual stories included in the book. Reproduced by permission. All rights reserved. First Published 1999 in Great Britain by Picador and in Ireland by New Island Books.

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Table of Contents

Room 101 Touchy Subjects 1
Room 102 Da Da Da - Daa 33
Room 103 The Debt Collector 69
Room 104 God's Gift 101
Room 105 The Master Key 137
Room 106 The Wedding of the Pughs 191
The Penthouse - Tarzan's Irish Rose 223
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2002

    Slow at times, but very entertaining & realistic

    I found Ladies' Night at Finbar's Hotel to be slightly drab at times, but also wildly entertaining, sincere, and realistic. The sexual exploits found within are both humerous and poignant, not too mushy and quite believable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2000

    Drab Tales Best Left in the Lift

    From the opening chapter I found myself not needing or wanting to hear about these people. This was our book club selection and none of us cared for it. The clever format was wasted here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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