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LAURA VAN DEN BERG launches her new novel THE THIRD HOTEL with AJA GABEL

The Third Hotel (Farrar Straus and Giroux)

In Havana, Cuba, a widow tries to come to terms with her husband’s death—and the truth about their marriage—in Laura van den Berg’s surreal, mystifying story of psychological reflection and metaphysical mystery.

Shortly after Clare arrives in Havana, Cuba, to attend the annual Festival of New Latin American Cinema, she finds her husband, Richard, standing outside a museum. He’s wearing a white linen suit she’s never seen before, and he’s supposed to be dead. Grief-stricken and baffled, Clare tails Richard, a horror film scholar, through the newly tourist-filled streets of Havana, clocking his every move. As the distinction between reality and fantasy blurs, Clare finds grounding in memories of her childhood in Florida and of her marriage to Richard, revealing her role in his death and reappearance along the way. The Third Hotel is a propulsive, brilliantly shape-shifting novel from an inventive author at the height of her narrative powers.

Praise for The Third Hotel

"I love Laura van den Berg for her eeriness and her elegance, the way the fabric of her stories is woven on a slightly warped loom so that you read her work always a bit perturbed. The Third Hotel is artfully fractured, slim and singular; it's a book that sings, but always with a strange pressure more felt than heard beneath the song." --Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

"In this gorgeous, frighteningly smart novel, a woman deranged by grief becomes an imposter in her own life. As inventive and inexorable as a dream, The Third Hotel is a devastating excavation of the unconscionable demands we place on those we love, and a profound portrait of the uncanny composite creature that is a marriage. Laura van den Berg is one of our best writers, an absolute marvel." --Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

"I love the way Laura van den Berg writes. The Third Hotel is another of her beguiling little masterpieces. One that, with ruminative grace and sublime wit, answers and elucidates the question of what it means to be human." --Miriam Toews, author of All My Puny Sorrows

"I've always been a huge fan of Laura van den Berg's work, but this novel took my breath away. The Third Hotel is a ghost story for grownups--when the search for clarity becomes obscure and reality is increasingly blurred. There is so much confidence and daring in her writing, but at the same time her slanted view of the world holds a kind of humility and clarity that makes it all feel so achingly human. Elegant, twisted, and propulsive, I loved it." --Claire Cameron, author of The Last Neanderthal

"After finishing The Third Hotel I found myself reeling for days. What a triumph of a book! Such a gorgeous, intelligent excavation of marriage, loss, art, flânerie. Simply spending time inside Laura van den Berg's elegant, muscular sentences has made me a better writer." --Kristen Iskandrian, author of Motherest

"Dazzling . . . Van Den Berg gives loveliness to the gruesome while opening up the novel's world to all kinds of ghosts. The real emotional power of the novel, however, beyond the elegance of its language and the precision and momentum of its telling, builds from what ends up being a brutal moment of confrontation. The scene brought tears to my eyes when I read it." --Chaya Bhuvansewar, Michigan Quarterly Review

Laura van den Berg is the author of two story collections, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us and The Isle of Youth, and the novel Find Me. She is the recipient of a Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Bard Fiction Prize, an O. Henry Award, and a MacDowell Colony fellowship. Born and raised in Florida, she lives in Cambridge, MA, with her husband and dog.

Aja Gabel’s writing has appeared in BOMB, The Kenyon Review, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere. A former cellist, she earned her B.A. at Wesleyan University, her MFA at the University of Virginia and has a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. Aja has been the recipient of fellowships from the Sewanee Writers' Conference, Literary Arts Oregon, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where she was a fellow in fiction. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Event date: 
Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
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