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.
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...
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.
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|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A follow up to Finbar's Hotel this time by six of Ireland's greatest women writers and one man, Dermot Bolger. Not quite as good as the original but still funny, touching, human stories. The trick again is to match the writer to the story which is fun and can stimulate some good discussions.
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.
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.