A Very Good Book
I haven't read anything by Robert Olen Butler for years, but he was always an author who sent arrows to my heart. And I've found that to be true with his most recent novel, A Small Hotel, which I picked up on a serendipitous trip to the Bar Harbor library last week. I finished all 241 pages in a matter of days during a week in which I had little time for casual reading. In short, I was mesmerized and couldn't put it down.
A Small Hotel tells the story of the relationship between Michael and Kelly, a 50-something couple with one child and married over twenty years. The story opens on the day that their divirce is to be finalized. Their life together is told in flashbacks from the point of view of these two main characters, and despite the fact that Michael has a much younger girlfriend the story is not what one would expect.
Why did I like this book so much? These all too real characters are my contemporaries and I know and at least hope I understand what it's like to be in a long-term marriage. Butler's adept weaving of the past and present made me have to know what was coming, and in the final section as Michael is racing against time, the author resorts to run-on sentences of such gripping intensity that my heart was racing, too.
The book speaks eloquently and convincingly of the importance of saying I love you to those we do, in fact, love. Words of wisdom.