The Lady Matador’s Hotel

I just finished another of Cristina Garcia’s books, my third in fact. The first two were Dreaming in Cuban and The Agüero Sisters. This one, The Lady Matador’s Hotel, is more concise and focused than the other two, but still contains the elements of the supernatural and the fascinating backgrounds, although in less detail, of the main characters. It’s beautiful the way the five main characters, all pretty bizarre, and this is Garcia’s fifth novel, are loosely connected in subtle and some not so subtle ways to provide an exciting tapestry of interconnected developing events.

We begin to see how these interconnections might resolve themselves for each character as the six short chapters, with one “Interlude”, move on, but only in the epilogue are the climax and most of the final resolutions reached. The excitement builds gradually and it’s often ironic the way the events weave this excitement with supernatural, often comic, aspects.

But I haven’t even said what the book is about!

The events take place in an unnamed undemocratic Central American country on the eve of elections. The five main characters are each staying at the same hotel in a hot, dusty, and poverty plagued city. Plots and intrigues occur in the background and impinge upon each of the characters, distorting or enhancing their plans and hopes. The excitement builds steadily as the chapters, and “news reports” at the end of each chapter, move on. Toward the end I could not put this book down as the problems facing each character increased in intensity, but at the end I felt relieved and satisfied with the outcomes.

A great read!

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  1. Kate’s avatar

    Ooh boy! Can’t wait to read it! How wonderful that we stumbled across that first novel, Dreaming In Cuban, on your bookshelf, to begin with! I don’t know if we ever would have discovered the talented Cristina Garcia otherwise.

  2. Kate’s avatar

    By the way, what an excellent well written review.

  3. Thomas’s avatar

    I’ve been reading a lot of Richard Brautigan’s books lately, but if you read too many in a row the world start to look pretty surreal. I think I’ll take a break and give one of your recomendations a try. :)

  4. Mardé’s avatar

    Thanks, Kate. Yes, it’s great we stumbled across Dreaming in Cuban, and we still don’t know how we got. Maybe the mommy bought it once but maybe it was a gift. Glad you liked my review. I didn’t give away much.

    Thomas, I just looked up Richard Brautigan and read his Wiki. Another sad case of a talent gone to waste through alcoholism. I ought to look into his books. I think you’ll like Cristina’s books. She uses what she (or others) call “magical realism” but it’s only one of her methods.

  5. Kate’s avatar

    I agree with the last paragraph in your review Dad. I’d add that the author, as in the other three books we’ve read from her, leaves our beloved characters somewhat in mystery.. It is up to the reader to debate what has become of them.


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