fiction, reviews, short stories

Ghost Stories: Violet Kupersmith’s The Frangipani Hotel

18167000The Frangipani Hotel: Stories

Violet Kupersmith

248 pages

Set to be released on April 1, 2014 by Spiegel & Grau

Source: Publisher

But as we watched, we realized that the thing approaching us was not a boat after all. I blinked and squinted, not wanting to believe my eyes, hoping that the rain was blurring my vision. Grandpa stopped waving and went silent, his face puzzled at first, then terrified.

Violet Kupersmith’s collection of short stories, The Frangipani Hotel, starts out with a bang. In the collection’s first story, “Boat Story”, a grandmother recalls her first day of fishing with her new husband and meets a mysterious spirit. The imagery was powerful and I found myself spellbound. I wanted to read more and I did.

The stories that followed, while attention-grabbing with simple writing and vivid descriptions, didn’t keep my interest. I found myself reading a story, feeling “meh” about it, and reading the next story only because this book is for a blog tour. After several stories, I decided not to finish the book.

The Frangipani Hotel is described as a collection of ghost stories set in Vietnam. “Boat Story” sets the tone for the book. The past affects the future whether we want it to or not. As the grandmother explains to her grandchild, Vietnam “gives you what you ask for, but never exactly what you want”. The characters in this collection learn that lesson, often the hard way.

While this collection didn’t keep my interest, many of the bloggers on this tour would disagree with me. This just might be a case of a book coming into my life at the wrong time.

Our muddy patch of the world was already shadowy and blood-soaked and spirit-friendly long before the Americans got here. There’s ancient and ugly things waiting to harm you in that darkness. Yes, of course they’re there in daylight, too—they’re just harder to spot. I’m not by any means a small man. I’m not the man you’d pick a fight with if you could help it. But I do get jittery sometimes.

What was the last book you read and didn’t love but everyone else did?

18 thoughts on “Ghost Stories: Violet Kupersmith’s The Frangipani Hotel”

  1. I had such high hopes for this book. I still may read it, but will do so with reservations. Thanks for the review. Sometimes we do start reading a book because we are obligated and it just doesn’t mesh. Do you think you may go back to this book at a later date?

    1. I may give this book another try later on. I’m always interested in other cultures and thought this would be a good book…

  2. I liked this book a lot…Strange that we disagree on this one…We are usually in perfect accord!

  3. Oo, good question. I feel like I’m getting better and better at identifying books I’m going to enjoy and not enjoy, so I less often read books that everyone likes and I don’t. But, Divergent, I think. It was fine, but I didn’t have the feelings about it that other people seemed to have.

  4. I think this is why I don’t read short story volumes more often. I’ll like a few but not all and it just doesn’t leave me feeling satisfied at the end. Bummer this was a DNF for you–the cover is lovely. Last book that I didn’t love but everyone else did? Maybe Possession. I liked it but I wanted to LOVE it.

  5. I find that I struggle a lot with short stories because a lot of the collections start with the best story and then follow it up with several lackluster ones. Looks like this one suffers from the same problem.

  6. I’m with Trish, I have a bit of a hard time with short stories. I like the ones that are interconnected or have a theme. Too bad this one didn’t live up to your expectations. I may have to put this on my list for one day.

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