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The Guest Room
     

The Guest Room

4.0 27
by Chris Bohjalian
 

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When Kristin Chapman agrees to let her husband, Richard, host his brother's bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery. She takes their young daughter to Manhattan for the evening, leaving her Westchester home to the men and their hired entertainment. What she does not expect is that the entertainment—two scared young women brought there by force

Overview

When Kristin Chapman agrees to let her husband, Richard, host his brother's bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery. She takes their young daughter to Manhattan for the evening, leaving her Westchester home to the men and their hired entertainment. What she does not expect is that the entertainment—two scared young women brought there by force—will kill their captors and drive off into the night.
 
With their house now a crime scene, Kristin's and Richard’s life spirals into nightmare. Kristin is unable to forgive her husband for his lapses in judgement, or for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But for the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, the danger is just beginning.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“One of Bohjalian’s most compelling books so far, combining an explosive premise, a timely social topic, and fast-paced storytelling with a purpose.” —The Miami Herald

“A gripping story about suburban American lives ripped apart. . . . Hard to put down, or ever forget.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
   
“A story both global and intimate. . . . Heartbreaking.” —The Boston Globe
 
“[Has] an edge-of-the-seat momentum that propels the reader straight to the last page.” —Anita Shreve, The Washington Post
 
“The book’s real throbbing heart is [Alexandra], an aspiring young dancer from Armenia. . . . A remarkable artistic feat.”  —USA Today

“Heartbreaking. . . . I won’t give away of the surprising twists and turns that The Guest Room takes on the path to Bohjalian’s daring conclusion; I'll only note that much of the pleasure that comes from reading any well-constructed narrative lies in trying to anticipate how the author will write himself out of seemingly inescapable corners. But here, for a change, we also have a novelist who seems more concerned with examining and dramatizing a much more universal question: whether, in the end, any amount of love or compassion, retreat or nobility or forgiveness, can overcome the remorseless workings of evil." —The San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Bohjalian’s deftness as a story teller is on full display here, as he couples the urgency of a compulsively readable crime thriller with a quiet meditation on the meaning of family and relationships.” —Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize winning author of March
 
“Alexandra is the conscience in this conscienceless world, a girl who manages to hold on to her innocence and compassion despite the horror of her life. Her voice … is rendered with such perfection that it’s easy to forget that the author is male.” —BookPage
 
“Suspenseful. . . . It took all of our willpower to not bite off all of our nails as we tore through this dark thriller.” —Lynsey Eidell, Glamour
 
“Hard to put down... Chris Bohjalian keeps readers turning each page... painfully honest... compelling.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
 
“The Guest Room pulses quick as a page-turner, but its concerns run deep into the moral consequences following an eruption of violence in ordinary lives.” —Charles Frazier, National Book Award winning author of Cold Mountain
 
“Reads like a thriller. . . . Chris does a terrific job of exploring the very dark side of trafficking and the women who are preyed on.”—Bookreporter
 
“From its very first page to an emotionally charged surprise ending, Bohjalian's fast-paced plot draws readers in and makes the book truly 'hard to put down.'. . . Remarkable. . . . A captivating and insightful read." —The Armenian Weekly 

“Gripping. . . . Venturing into crime-thriller territory familiar to fans of Harlan Coben, Bohjalian’s page-turner about an average Joe caught up in sordid events beyond his control resonates with chilling plausibility.” —Booklist

“Bohjalian catches a key social moment with a book that’s fresh and different.” —Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804170987
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/25/2016
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries Series
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
15,444
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Richard Chapman presumed there would be a stripper at his brother Philip’s bachelor party. Perhaps if he had actually thought about it, he might even have expected two. Sure, in sitcoms the stripper always arrived alone, but he knew that in real life strippers often came in pairs. How else could there be a little pretend (or not pretend) girl-on-girl action on the living room carpet? Besides, he worked in mergers and acquisitions, he understood the exigencies of commerce as well as anyone: two strippers meant you could have two gentlemen squirming at once. You could have two girls hovering just above two sets of thighs--or if the girls saw the right combination of neediness and dollar signs in the men’s eyes, not hovering but in fact descending upon each of the men’s laps. Richard wasn’t especially wild about the idea of an exotic dancer in his family’s living room: there was a place for everything in his mind, even the acrobatically tensed sinews of a stripper. But that place wasn’t his home. He didn’t want to be a prig, however; he didn’t want to be the guy who put a damper on his younger brother’s bachelor party. And so he told himself the entertainment would be some girl from Sarah Lawrence or Fordham or NYU with a silly, mellifluous made‑up name making a little money for tuition. He didn’t completely believe this, but in some backward universe sort of way, he felt a little less reprehensible--a little less soiled--if he was getting turned on by a twenty-one-year-old sociology major with a flat stomach and a Brazilian who understood intellectually the cultural politics of stripping and viewed herself as a feminist capitalist.

Richard’s wife, of course, was not present that evening. Kristin had made sure that she and her daughter were at her mother’s apartment in Manhattan. The three of them, three generations of females, one with white hair and one with wheaten and one--the youngest--with hair that was blond and silken and fell to her shoulders, ate dinner at an Italian restaurant the granddaughter liked. It was near Carnegie Hall and had great plaster sculptures of body parts on the walls. Noses. Breasts. An eye. The three of them had theater tickets for a Broadway matinee the following afternoon, Saturday. They weren’t planning to return home until Sunday.

There were supposed to be no videos of the bachelor party. One of the women’s Russian bodyguards told the men to keep their phones in their pants. He said if he saw a phone, he’d break it. He said he’d break the fingers that had been touching the phone, too. (He was smiling when he spoke, but no one doubted his earnestness.)

So there were mostly just stories of what seems to have occurred. How it went from stripping to fucking. How it all went wrong. There is only what the gentlemen, including Richard Chapman, told the police. The talent’s versions? The talent was gone. And those bodyguards? They were dead.

The house, a regal Tudor in what was inadvertently a development of regal Tudors, sat on three-quarters of an acre partway up a wooded hill just off of Pondfield Road. The driveway was steep. One morning Richard had started his pewter gray Audi to drive to the train station for his morning commute to the investment bank in lower Manhattan, but realized he had forgotten his iPad. So he climbed from the car--failing first to reset the parking brake--and then watched, at once horrified and enrapt, as the vehicle rolled backward down the incline, first in slow motion but then with the gathering steam of an avalanche as it rumbles its way down a mountain, rolling into the thin road that led to Pondfield, crossing that main Bronxville thoroughfare, and then slamming into a small copse of maples largely denuded of leaves because it was the last week in October. Miraculously, as if the near accident had been elaborately staged by a film crew, the Audi passed cleanly between a garbage truck plodding up Pondfield Road and a Subaru station wagon with one of the schoolteachers who worked with Kristin racing down it. No one was hurt. The car incurred nearly eight thousand dollars in damage, but this was an Audi: it was far from totaled. Arguably, Richard’s ego was in worse shape--but, like the Audi, eminently repairable.

The house was almost equidistant from the Bronxville train station, where Richard would catch the train, and Siwanoy Country Club, where he would occasionally play golf on the weekends. His favorite room in the house was a mahogany-paneled library, where he had replaced one wall of built‑in bookshelves with a home theater, and where all alone he would watch his beloved New York Giants or he and Kristin would watch whatever sitcoms he had Tivo‑ed that week or some combination of mother and father and daughter would watch as a family whatever movie nine-year-old Melissa had selected. Sometimes those movie nights were a testimony to how quickly and how easily the ear cells were mashed into ineffectual chum by loud noise: Melissa only needed the volume set at five or six; her parents, veterans of Nirvana concerts in their teens and then Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains concerts in their twenties, needed it set at jet engine. Sometimes it seemed to Richard that Disney only made movies where everyone whispered.

This room also held Richard’s and Kristin’s vinyl--and the couple had long rows of albums they had alphabetized like librarians--and the stereo that they both cared for like an antique car.

But Richard also loved the bedroom that he and Kristin shared, especially the bed, which was the perfect height to make love to his wife standing up--that is, he would be standing up, she would be lying on the mattress, her ankles gripped like dumbbells in his hands. He took pride in his daughter’s bedroom and the wallpaper--a jungle of lions and tigers (no bears)--that he had meticulously hung himself, as well as the crisp white armoire and dresser where his fourth grader kept an ever-burgeoning wardrobe. These days, as Melissa had grown more fashion conscious, the room always looked a little ransacked: her sweaters and skirts and tights overflowed from the drawers of the dresser and the doors of the armoire. They cascaded onto the floor like the soap bubbles that once flooded the kitchen from the dishwasher the time that Richard had put dishwashing liquid instead of dishwasher gel into the machine.

But the girl’s bedroom was no longer awash in Barbies and Barbie doll furniture. And Barbie doll outfits. And the Barbie doll shoes, which Richard had observed should be listed with the TSA as weapons a passenger could not bring aboard a plane in a carry‑on. He had stepped on them one time too many in the dark in his bare feet, his sole seemingly impaled by one of the diminutive plastic stilettos, when he was checking the girl’s room before he went to bed: making sure that the heat was just right or the window was open (or closed) or she was properly tucked in beneath the covers. But by nine she had long outgrown the dolls. The anorexic amazons had been replaced by plump American Girl dolls with names like Molly (not Miley) and Felicity and Samantha, and even those dolls sat most of the time in a corner of the bedroom, a film of dust atop their demure bonnets and caps. The Barbie collection, a massive assortment of lifeguards, physicians, and pet groomers, had been boxed away in a snap-tight, plastic Tucker Tote the size of a small summer camp trunk and sat now in a corner of her bedroom. The Tucker Tote was clear, except for the lid, which was blue. One of these days, Richard planned to cart the dolls up the stairs that fell from the second-floor hallway ceiling into the attic.

As for the rest of the house, Richard was largely oblivious. He spent too little time in the kitchen to have formed any serious opinions, and he assumed all appliances were more or less equal. Like a sleepwalker he would pour himself coffee there in the morning, and he would bring the dishes there from the dining room after dinner--occasionally, but only rarely, breaking a plate or allowing a knife to slide off the china and deposit mustard sauce on the hardwood dining room floor. But the kitchen was not the nerve center of the house the way it was in so many suburban homes. Kristin never graded papers at the kitchen table there. Richard never examined company profiles or crunched numbers there.

The same was true of his feelings toward the mudroom and the powder room and the pantry, with its glass cabinet doors dating back to the 1930s.

And so while he knew that the men at the bachelor party would be wandering throughout the kitchen and the dining room and the pantry, he really didn’t care. They would be nowhere near the sanctum sanctorum of bedrooms upstairs. Mostly, he guessed, they would be reveling amid the bricks and mortar and magnificent exposed wooden beams in the family’s living room or the smaller den beside it. In those rooms, the paint was the colors of hyacinth and squash and brass and antiquarian brown, and the wallpaper was a series of meticulous renderings of garden flowers. (He had hung that, too. He was, he knew, clumsy; but he was also strangely gifted when it came to select home improvements. He was a virtuoso paperhanger, and it gave him ineffable pleasure to paper those rooms that mattered to his wife and his daughter. Only the front hallway had the home’s original wallpaper.) The house was a mannered world of very conventional domesticity. And if there was a stripper there? If Philip’s friend at the hotel did indeed dial one up? Not a big deal. When she left, when the furniture was moved back into place and the dishwasher had been filled with the men’s glasses, the house once more would be a domiciliary keep for his wife and his daughter and himself.

The autumn rain drummed against the slate roof, but the men were oblivious, the lower clouds soup and the higher ones columns of unseasonal, crepitating thunderheads. A few of the men, including Richard, were vaguely aware that somewhere in the room an ancient Madonna song was on the Bose speaker dock, but most had stopped listening to the strippers’ playlist back on Nelly, because that was when the two girls had started grinding against each other.

Brandon Fisher was sitting beside Richard on the living room couch and leaned forward, murmuring, “Where do you think these girls are from? They’re not American.” A few minutes ago, Brandon had had one of the girls straddling his lap, her breasts pressed hard against his face; she hadn’t seemed to mind when he slipped his fingers underneath the front of her thong. She had even pretended she liked it. And, much to Richard’s surprise, their bodyguards didn’t seem to care: when he’d seen what Brandon was doing, he’d expected their muscle--two large, terrifying Russian dudes, both with shaved heads--to swoop in and break the guy’s hand. But they hadn’t. Brandon had simply given the girl a fifty, which she, in turn, had discreetly slipped into the jacket pocket of one of her handlers. He’d licked his fingers and wolfishly raised his eyebrows. Some of the men had howled.

As soon as the girls had arrived, Richard had moved the coffee table into the kitchen. He had moved the coffee table and the wine rack and a side table with a luminescent glass bowl hand-blown by a Vermont artisan into the kitchen. He wanted to be sure that the girls had room to strip and do whatever else his brother’s best friends were paying them to do in his living room--because, it was clear to him now, these were not mere strippers. They were something more. Way more. He glanced once again at Brandon’s hand. This was not at all what he had expected and he felt a little . . . unclean. But he also couldn’t imagine being anyplace else right now and not getting to see this--though he was still unsure precisely what this was and where it was all going to end. He reminded himself that he was drunk and told himself he should be grateful to get to see a live sex show in his living room. But then he had a pang of concern for the Oriental carpet. Did he really want the sex stains of strange women and his brother’s friends forever marking the antique rug?

“Russia? The Ukraine? I don’t know,” he answered Brandon finally. “I mean, the guys who brought them here have Russian accents.”

One of the girls was blond, her hair cut into a bob. The other’s hair was creosote black and cascaded in waterfalls down her neck and onto her shoulders. She was still in her thong, but the blonde--whose hands were cupping the other girl’s ass, her fingers splayed, with such apparent force that the breath had caught in his throat--was absolutely naked but for the glitter that sparkled in the light from the wrought-iron floor lamp.

“Maybe the Middle East,” Brandon suggested.

“Not the blonde.”

“Hair’s dyed,” he said.

“I’m thinking Eastern Europe. Maybe Germany? Or, I don’t know, Estonia.”

Abruptly his younger brother, Philip, cuffed him good-naturedly on the shoulder, causing him to spill some of his beer on his lap. “Dude!” Philip told him, his voice happily, boyishly, boisterously hammered. “Seriously? You have two chicks about to go down on each other six feet away from you, and you’re trying to figure out where the fuck they’re from?” He laughed, tousled Richard’s hair, and then added, “You have been married way too fucking long, my older brother! Way too fucking long!”

Philip was thirty-five and a month that autumn night, and he was going to marry a woman five years younger than he was, which meant that she was a full decade younger than Richard and Kristin. A decade is a long time. Think history. It’s the difference between--for example--1953 and 1963. Or 1992 and 2002. Philip’s fiancee, a lovely young woman named Nicole, was a graphic artist who owned a studio with a skylight in Fort Greene, though she spent most nights at Philip’s larger apartment near the promenade in Brooklyn Heights. Philip had a Master of Management in Hospitality from Cornell and ran the reception desk at a trendy boutique hotel in Chelsea. You had to look like a runway model from Prague--tall and blond, with cheekbones only a god could sculpt--to stand behind the black marble podiums and check someone in. He said he was an (and he always said the word with an irony that actually bespoke considerable pride) hotelier.

Meet the Author

CHRIS BOHJALIAN is the author of eighteen books, including Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, The Sandcastle Girls, Skeletons at the Feast, The Double Bind, and Midwives. His novel Midwives was a number one New York Times bestseller and a selection of Oprah's Book Club. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages, and three of his novels have become movies (Secrets of Eden, Midwives, and Past the Bleachers). He lives in Vermont. Visit him at www.chrisbohjalian.com or on Facebook.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Lincoln, Vermont
Date of Birth:
August 12, 1961
Place of Birth:
White Plains, New York
Education:
Amherst College
Website:
http://www.chrisbohjalian.com

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The Guest Room 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Realistic dialogue and fast moving plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast paced like Gone Girl and Girl on a Train. Great story development and characters that you want to love and root for. Reminded me of books by Jodie Piccoult. A story that i will think about for a long time.
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
As always, an informative and spellbinding tale by Chris Bohjalian. I had just finished Petrocelli, and this is another frank examination of the sex slave and trafficking trade, again involving girls from Armenia and Russia. These girls are so well defined and fleshed out that you feel like they are family. Every adult American should read this book.
bookworm1954DB More than 1 year ago
I don't know what to say about this book except: Riveting! I will probably write better review later, however, I wanted everyone to know what a page turner this book is. It is based on sex slaves and abduction. It has murder and mayhem. It has love and caring. It encompasses everything into one amazing, incredible ride of a read! Chris Bohjalian is a very gifted and amazing storyteller. This was my first book by him and it isn't for sale yet, but write down the name, you need to read it. It is vividly descriptive with a cast of characters that are complex and so well developed that you will feel their fear, pain and love. It encompasses the moral consequences of our actions and how what we do and how we handle things can lead us down roads we can not fathom. Sex slavery is a real problem, with real children and teens. It ruins lives. Read this book for them and for yourself. Be aware, it happens right here in the USA! I hope I have done this book justice, there is so much more to say, but I don't want to give it all away. Read this book when it comes out. I know I will be reading all of Chris Bohjalian's books after this one. Unbelievable read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I simply couldn't put this book down but then again, when it comes to Mr. Bohjalians books I can never get enough.
nfmgirl More than 1 year ago
I was introduced to author Chris Bohjalian through his book The Sandcastle Girls. I enjoyed that book, so when offered the chance to read his new book The Guest Room, I jumped at the chance. Richard somewhat begrudgingly throws his younger brother Philip a bachelor party. He finds the home he shares with his wife and little girl filled with men he doesn't particularly care for, and seeing things he didn't plan on seeing. He knew that there would probably be strippers, but he gets way more than he bargained for when the girls begin having sex with his brother and other attendees, and even doing so right in front of him and the other party goers. Then before he knows it, he finds himself in an upstairs guest room with one of the strippers lying naked on the bed. Fast forward a short while later, and Richard is left standing in a living room splattered with blood and two dead men. The strippers have killed their "bodyguards", and run off armed and with money lifted off the bodies. In the days to follow, Richard learns that the "strippers" are actually believed to have been victims of human trafficking-- possibly Russian sex slaves. And his life soon begins to spiral out of his control as he must suffer the consequences of his poor decisions that night, and must answer to more than just his wife. My final word: This was an interesting book. I'm feeling a wee bit ambivalent about it. I liked it okay, but it felt a little light. It sort of felt like a short story-- a little abbreviated, not too much depth to most of the characters (other than Alexandra). It was "okay". It was good enough to recommend for consideration for my book club, but it just wasn't a really exciting or deep read.
Old_Dog More than 1 year ago
I read this book after it was positively reviewed in our local Sunday newspaper. I found the premise intriguing and the story shines a new light on men and and their fascination with sex, women, prostitution and pornography. The author is not "preachy" in his approach, but nevertheless provides and interesting perspective on the participants (both purveyors and consumers) in the sex-as-entertainment milieu. What are their motivations and backgrounds; who are the victims and what are the potential consequences?
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bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
What I like about a new Chris Bohjalian book is that you know it's always going to be an intriguing story that tackles an important issue. He's dealt with such topics as mental illness (The Double Bind), domestic abuse (Secrets of Eden), the Armenian genocide (The Sandcastle Girls) and now the global sex slave trade in his gripping novel The Guest Room. Kristine takes her eight-year-old daughter to visit her mother overnight in New York City while her husband Richard hosts a bachelor party for his n'er-do-well brother in their suburban home. She's not crazy about her immature brother-in-law Phillip and his friends, but Richard doesn't have many friends or go out much, so she hopes this will be a fun night for him. Phillip's best friend Spencer arranges for two strippers to come to the house, but when they arrive, it's clear that these are the not the kind of women Richard envisioned. The two young women are more than strippers, they are prostitutes. Things get way out of hand, and Richard ends up in the guest room with one of the young women, Alexandra, about to make a very bad mistake. It turns out that these two women were kidnapped and forced into sex slavery and when the women kill their bodyguards/captors in his house, Richard's life turns upside down. He has to tell his wife, who has to tell their young daughter. The lurid story is all over the news, Richard is forced to take a leave of absence from his lucrative job and they can't go back into their house as it is a crime scene. It is a nightmare. The story is also told from Alexandra's viewpoint. After losing her father, she is tricked into leaving her mother, believing she is going to study dance in Russia. The man who was her benefactor became her nightmare. At the age of fourteen she was forced into prostitution. She was beaten and raped repeatedly until she realized there was no way out. Bohjalian describes in graphic detail the brutality these young women are subjected to. It is horrifying to read on the page, I can't imagine the actual reality of it. For five long years Alex is locked away, forced to service men. At the age of nineteen, she and three other young women are sent to New York where they can make more money for the Russian mobsters. One of them is killed by their captors, and then they go to the party at Richard's, where Alexandra's friend decides to change her fate. The story is riveting, and The Guest Room is definitely a page-turning nail-biter. As Alexandra is on the run, trying to avoid the Russian mobsters and police looking for her, and Richard tries to put his life back together, their stories collide. The ending is shocking and will send you for a loop. The Guest Room is just heartbreaking, and the fact that this goes on right here is mind-numbing. I highly recommend The Guest Room, it combines a sad story with a thriller's pace and you'll race through it. And if your husband asks to host a bachelor party in your home, just say no.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a page turner. It's interesting how your entire life can change instantly. That is what happens in this book. A bachelor party gone wrong and the damage it does to those involved. I could not put it down and I look forward to reading more by this writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love all of Bohjalian's work, but this one was especially powerful and timely. At once suspenseful and beautifully written.
ToManyBooksNotEnoughTime More than 1 year ago
I would like to thank Doubleday Books & NetGalley for giving me a copy of this e-ARC to read in exchange for an honest review. Though I received this e-book for free that in no way impacts my review. Once again Mr. Bohjalian knocks it out of the park. His most recent book is an incredible blend of horror, heartbreak, and redemption. His prose sings like a Stradivarius when played by a virtuoso, bringing you so deep into the story that you lose track of where you end and the story begins. Tackling themes of sex trafficking, infidelity, and murder should look difficult, yet it is crystal clear that Bohjalian is in his comfort zone even with issues as challenging as these. He deftly managed to craft a story that could easily have gone over into the realm of sensationalism, or voyeurism, yet in his skilled hands retained balance, and a real sense of humanity. Richard Chapman should be reviled according to those outside of the events of that fatal evening. Even his own wife no longer knows what to believe. Yet throughout the story he remains true to his character, even during moments of inner dialogue. Watching as he tries to pick up the pieces of his shattered life is riveting, which is a testament to Bohjalian's skill, since Richard's story is up against the sensational story of a young, beautiful sex slave. Somehow the arc of this story, the very pacing, is near perfect. Everything seems to unfurl at just the right time and place, nothing feeling remotely forced to fit where it shouldn't. Alexandra shares her history as the current debacle unfolds around everyone, bouncing between the past and present. Through her we learn of the many intimate horrors visited upon girls taken into the sex trade by force. The very dispassion with which she shares her story serves to underscore the terror these girls live in. Without ever preaching Bohjalian manages to make this a lesson into the realities of the human sex trade couched in a fictional story, leaving it palatable for readers while educating them nonetheless. It is going to be a tough act for him to follow, and I eagerly look forward to what amazing story he next elects to share with us.
IREAD4ME More than 1 year ago
This is a story about a very decent man who gives his younger brother a bachelor party, before his wedding. This event changes his life forever. Even though this is about a seedy world that this man is not accustomed to, it isn't a seedy book. I found it to be well- written and entertaining to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nothing like expected from this writer. East of money
DianaH-Maine More than 1 year ago
THE GUEST ROOM by Chris Bohjalian is a difficult book to read. The characters are flawed, sad and frustrating to read about. The story is one of scandal, shame, murder, blackmail, prostitution, human trafficking, family dynamics, redemption and morality. I did not feel much empathy for any of the characters. There was little mystery, intrigue or suspense. The perceived worthlessness of women in some (many) societies is sickening. It was hard to take Richard’s naivete at times and his infatuation with Alexandra (at the expense of his family’s well-being and security; indeed, his own life) was creepy and nauseating. I like much of the author’s work, but this book leaves me cold.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
Wow, I absolutely did not see 3/4 of this book happening. I definitely did not see the ending happening. Talk about a party gone wrong. No way in your worst nightmare could you see this coming. I don't want to give out any spoilers, but I'm sitting here shaking my head just thinking about what went on in this book. I am still blown away. This was an excellent story. It was so gripping and had me going through so many emotions. On one page my blood would boil and then the next page, my heart would break. It was fantastically written and the characters so human. I cannot say enough good things about this book. I read it all in one sitting because I did not want to put it down. I can see this being THE book of 2016. I know that it will definitely up there for me. The funniest thing is, I thought that I had been rejected for this book, so I just yesterday put it on my wish list on Amazon to remind me that I wanted it. (Yes, the list is that long). And today when I woke up, there it was, waiting for me on my Net Galley shelf. A huge, huge thanks to Doubleday Books for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
Piney10 More than 1 year ago
I'd rate this a 3.5. I really like Chris Bohjalian and was looking forward to reading his latest book, The Guest Room. I was disappointed. I had trouble getting into the book until almost the end. It didn't grab me from the start or even the middle as his others. The topic, sex slavery of young girls, was very well done and researched. However, the story line as it was told just did not capture me like his other wonderful books