Wednesday, March 2, 2016

QUICK REVIEW: The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian


From the New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls comes the spellbinding tale of a party gone horribly wrong: two men lie dead in a suburban living room; two women are on the run from police; and a marriage is ripping apart at the seams.

When Richard Chapman offers to host his younger brother's bachelor party, he expects a certain amount of debauchery. He sends his wife, Kristin, and young daughter off to his mother-in-law's for the weekend, and he opens his Westchester home to his brother's friends and their hired entertainment. What he does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, a dangerously intimate moment in his guest bedroom, and two naked women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night. In the aftermath, Richard's life rapidly spirals into a nightmare. The police throw him out of his home, now a crime scene; his investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave; and his wife finds herself unable to forgive him for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, faces a much graver danger. In one breathless, violent night, she is free, running to escape the police who will arrest her and the gangsters who will kill her in a heartbeat. A captivating, chilling story about shame and scandal, The Guest Room is a riveting novel from one of our greatest storytellers.

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 5th 2016 by Doubleday
ISBN 0385538898 (ISBN13: 9780385538893)

About the Author

Lincoln, Vermont’s Chris Bohjalian is the author of 18 books, most of which were New York Times bestsellers. His work has been translated into over 30 languages and three times become movies.

Hi new novel, The Guest Room, a story of a human trafficking, a marriage in crisis, and two remarkable women, just went on sale.

His books have been chosen as Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Hartford Courant, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Bookpage, and Salon.

His awards include the ANCA Freedom Award for his work educating Americans about the Armenian Genocide; the ANCA Arts and Letters Award for The Sandcastle Girls, as well as the Saint Mesrob Mashdots Medal; the New England Society Book Award for The Night Strangers; the New England Book Award; Russia's Soglasie (Concord) Award for The Sandcastle Girls; a Boston Public Library Literary Light; a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Trans-Sister Radio; and the Anahid Literary Award. His novel, Midwives, was a number one New York Times bestseller, a selection of Oprah's Book Club, and a New England Booksellers Association Discovery pick. He is a Fellow of the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, including the Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest, and the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. He was a weekly columnist in Vermont for the Burlington Free Press from 1992 through 2015.

Chris graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Amherst College, and lives in Vermont with his wife, the photographer Victoria Blewer. Their daughter, Grace Experience, is a young actor in New York City. Among the audiobooks she has narrated are Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands and The Guest Room.

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My Thoughts
Richard Chapman presumed there would be a stripper at his brother Philip's bachelor party. 
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.

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My Rating:

The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.

I received a copy of this book to review through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof, and quotes could differ from the final release.  

1 comment:

Blogger said...

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