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Extended Audio Sample Hotel Honolulu: A Novel Audiobook, by Paul Theroux Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,007 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Paul Theroux Narrator: George Guidall Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2017 ISBN: 9781436145114
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Critically acclaimed author Paul Theroux weaves a multilayered tale charged with humor, lust, and tragedy. Looking to get away, a man suffering from writer's block winds up at the run-down Hotel Honolulu, where he becomes the new manager. Intrigued by the human drama developing all around him, he hopes to rekindle his writing passion. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Aishe | 2/15/2014

    " So, I picked up this book, thinking, well, I'm not expecting too much from this, since it's written by a Haole, who is not from the Islands, but it could be interesting. The premise was promising, and I happened to have another book by the author on my shelf, strangely, but also unread. So, I picked it up. I was pleasantly surprised by the writing, and the stories drew me in, but that was just schadenfreude on my part, I do believe. I like the way the author writes; he has good flow and the hotel setting makes for some racy stories. However, I found the portrayals of the residents of the hotel and the islands was caricature, and that really disappointed me. My deepest fears were, unfortunately, not unfounded. Maybe this is a memoir based on actual people the author has encountered, or maybe he was writing in such a way as to encourage its conversion to a major motion picture. To me, I felt Theroux was just another Bronislaw Malinowski, whom he mentions in the book, by the way, or a Herman Melville, "peeping at Polynesians." He reinscribes "the other." After reading this novel, I felt dirty. I was somehow complacent in his characterizations, merely by reading them. Frankly, I felt disappointed. The writer is obviously talented, and yet his cast could have come from early Hollywood. They were much more fleshed out than the caricatures of alluring island beauties, dragon ladies, and middle Americans we generally see in cinema, however, they do nothing more than reinforce such images. There was a paternalistic view of these backward Islanders, whose Island mentality and culture made the narrator and his other main-lander buddy feel as if they were on a different planet. The impressions of Paradise presented by Theroux is one of savagery, where civilized folks come to escape their civilization and live fantasies, because on these islands anything and everything goes. I've never been to Hawaii, but I have lived in different parts of the continental U.S., and I seriously doubt it is more unseemly or more backward than anywhere else. In the end, I finished the book to be rid of it, but I truthfully had a hard time thinking of how to properly divest myself of this book. I would feel somewhat ashamed to give it away to anyone I know, and somehow responsible if I gave it to some stranger or no, who might believe some of this garble to be truth. I also felt betrayed by the author, because I think he could have written this hotel into existence anywhere and made all the characters white and it would have been just as entertaining and so much less damaging on the psyche. I am not going to spell out the caricatured cast here because I feel it would be spoiler material, but I am not sure I want to read the other Theroux novel on my shelf. It's not so much a waste of brain cells as a waste of time and threatens to fill me with more frustration and disappointment if it, too "others" all the people in it. I am really not into neo-colonial pseudo travelogues. I feel like kicking myself--I should have judged this book by its cover and title and left well enough alone. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Staceysbffjen | 2/11/2014

    " Entertaining and light reading. The author has some fun surprises. Seems like a book of short stories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 2/7/2014

    " The latest novel by one of my favorite writers. Theroux is almost better known for his travel writing than his novels (Mosquito Coast, Saint Jack, My Secret History to name a few), but I'm a fan of all of his work. There is something about his main characters (usually thinly veiled versions of the author himself) that I identify with. I truly enjoyed Hotel Honolulu. My only complaint is that it reads like many short stories, so I found myself reading it in short installments, rather than getting caught up in the arc of the novel. Still very entertaining and poignant, filled with richly detailed characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Megan Lynch | 1/26/2014

    " We had just come from our honeymoon in hawaii when I read this, and the author did a perfect job of putting me right back on the island. The stories of each character are incredible (some just strange and twisted). the book is slightly sad but often very very funny. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pat | 1/23/2014

    " This is only the second fiction work I've read by Theroux. It is a cynical tragicomedy set in Hawaii, where Theroux is a part-time resident. (His grasp of Hawaiian pidgin is masterful.) Using a shabby hotel as his base, he tells the mostly sorry tales of its residents a la "Canterbury Tales." Apparently, for many tourists, "What happens in Hawaii, stays in Hawaii," just like Vegas. I liked how Theroux tears apart the island paradise fantasy. Sex is a constant theme in all of its worst manifestations: rape, prostitution, incest, adultery. No one escapes humans' essential loneliness by engaging in it; indeed, their alienation is increased. Virtually no characters--including the down-and-out-writer narrator--are attractive, and ALL are unhappy in myriad ways. The alcoholic, self-destructive Buddy is particularly repelllent in the ways he uses and mistreats everyone. Suicide is rampant. Women are abused in countless ways, especially the Asian ones. Even though it is wonderfully and insightfully written, this novel was just too depressing for me to give it a high rating.. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rebecca Williamson | 1/21/2014

    " This was a randy collection of anecdotes about assorted characters passing through a sorry hotel. Some interesting moments, but no plot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Harly | 1/14/2014

    " Nice beach reading...especially if you are staying in Honolulu "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Charlane Brady | 1/6/2014

    " Love the author but this one was okay. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul Veitch | 11/26/2013

    " This was my first read of a PT fiction book and I thought it was just fantastic. So many brilliant characters, so many great stories and held together in a book that, to my mind, was just bliss. Everyone I have loaned my copy to has loved it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joe Mossa | 11/10/2013

    " his books make me feel dirty. is sex so common in this life ? those sex scenes are inacted by people i don t know. maybe, i wish it were so. this book is a good excuse to write tiny stories not even to be called short. some of the stories were fun. i especially liked RAIN. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nancy | 9/12/2013

    " I've enjoyed his nonfiction in the past (I think - it's been awhile) but I hated this book. He's a good writer but the protagonist seemed like such a racist jerk. The misogyny in this book is also intense. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 karen | 7/9/2013

    " I started off liking this book, but the sad small plots seemed to add up to nothing in particular. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tracy | 7/5/2013

    " I tried to get through this book, but I ended up putting it down with about 100 pages to go. I felt like I was forcing myself to read. The characters were stereotypical and the chapters seemed to be written for shock value more than anything else. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Fiona | 6/4/2013

    " I'll stick to his travel writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annemarie | 6/2/2013

    " it took me a while to figure out that it presents a series of intermingled vignettes (think postmodern as i lay dying or dubliners.) once i figured this out i started to get into it, and am enjoying it so far. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margaret | 5/20/2013

    " Living on an island is certainly a different living. I suppose the author finds sharing his sexual fantasies through writing a way to deal with his confined island living life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sum-sum Chan | 4/5/2013

    " The best book I have read in years. Snappy writing, vivid characters, complex setting - made me love reading again. One of the few books I've returned to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa Johnson | 2/26/2012

    " Out of his novels, I enjoyed this one most. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kyle | 1/28/2012

    " Only book I have read by this guy. Strange vibe to the book, but really touching story emotionally. One of those books that really touches you, but you are not sure why. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Linsay | 11/30/2011

    " Ugh, this was horrible, Couldn't even finish it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erica Amy | 5/4/2011

    " It was disturbing on a lot of levels... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 4/25/2011

    " I enjoyed this book that was more like an assortment of short stories that all tied in together. It was interesting to read about this author's take on the Hawaiian "natives". "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nancy | 4/2/2011

    " I've enjoyed his nonfiction in the past (I think - it's been awhile) but I hated this book. He's a good writer but the protagonist seemed like such a racist jerk. The misogyny in this book is also intense. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 karen | 2/11/2011

    " I started off liking this book, but the sad small plots seemed to add up to nothing in particular. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rose | 1/3/2011

    " Amusing anecdotes of a writer's escape to Honolulu where he becomes a hotel manager.
    Contemporary Hawaii is captured in his very real characters. A nice diversion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sum-sum | 3/3/2010

    " The best book I have read in years. Snappy writing, vivid characters, complex setting - made me love reading again. One of the few books I've returned to. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul | 2/28/2010

    " This was my first read of a PT fiction book and I thought it was just fantastic. So many brilliant characters, so many great stories and held together in a book that, to my mind, was just bliss. Everyone I have loaned my copy to has loved it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annemarie | 1/5/2010

    " it took me a while to figure out that it presents a series of intermingled vignettes (think postmodern as i lay dying or dubliners.) once i figured this out i started to get into it, and am enjoying it so far. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicholas | 12/16/2009

    " Entertaining read. If you're looking for some brain candy, this is it. Lots of debauchery in Honolulu. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 11/29/2009

    " Writer escapes to Hawaii & becomes manager at the rundown Hotel Honolulu. Book details his observations about hotel staff, guests and himself. "

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About the Author
Author Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux is the author of many highly acclaimed novels and travel books. His novels include A Dead Hand and The Mosquito Coast, an international bestseller and the basis of the major motion picture. He lives in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.

About the Narrator

George Guidall, winner of eighty AudioFile Erphones Awards, has twice won the prestigious Audie Award for Excellence in Audiobook Narration. In 2014 the Audio Publishers Association presented him with the Special Achievement Award for an audiobook narrator of exceptional stature and accomplishment. During his thirty-year recording career he has recorded over 1,100 audiobooks, won multiple awards, been a mentor to many narrators, and shown by example the potential of fine storytelling. Among Guidall’s narration achievements are Crime and Punishment, The Iliad, and John Irving’s A Widow for One Year, which earned him an Audie Award for best unabridged narration of a novel, an honor he captured again for his rendition of Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much Is True. Guidall’s forty-year acting career includes starring roles on Broadway, an Obie Award for best performance off Broadway, and frequent television appearances.