Author(s): Joanna Walsh
Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.
During the breakdown of an unhappy marriage, writer Joanna Walsh got a job as a hotel reviewer, and began to gravitate towards places designed as alternatives to home. Luxury, sex, power, anonymity, privacy...hotels are where our desires go on holiday, but also places where our desires are shaped by the hard realities of the marketplace. Part memoir and part meditation, this book visits a series of rooms, suites, hallways, and lobbies-the spaces and things that make up these modern sites of gathering and alienation, hotels.
Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.
A lyrical, inventive, and witty look at the ways in which the hotel is the necessary complement, the flip side, of home, and how the alienated state of being in a hotel can be a welcome alternative to the demands of the hyper-connected, instantly personal modern world.
A slim, sharp meditation on hotels and desire. ... Walsh invokes everyone from Freud to Forster to Mae West to the Marx Brothers. She's funny throughout, even as she documents the dissolution of her marriage and the peculiar brand of alienation on offer in lavish place. The Paris Review Evocative ... Walsh's strange, probing book is all the more affecting for eschewing easy resolution. Publishers Weekly Joanna Walsh is fast becoming one of our most important writers. Hotel is a dazzling tour de force of embodied ideas. Deborah Levy, author of Black Vodka Subtle and intriguing, this small book is an adventure in form. Part meditation on hotels, it mingles autobiography and reflections on home, secrets, and partings. Freud, Dora, Heidegger, and the Marx Brothers all have their moments on its small, intensely evocative stage. Lisa Appignanesi, author of Trials of Passion Featured in The Literary Hub The Literary Hub Walsh has been praised to the skies by Chris Kraus and Jeff Vandermeer, and it isn't hard to see why. Her writing sways between the tense and the absurd, as if it's hovering between this world and another. -- Jonathan Sturgeon Flavorwire
Joanna Walsh is a writer based in England. Her work has been published by Granta, Dalkey (Best European Fiction 2015), Salt (Best British Short Stories 2014 and 2015), Tate, and others. Her books include Fractals (2013), and Vertigo (The Dorothy Project, 2015). She reviews for The Guardian, The New Statesman, and The National (UAE). She is fiction editor at 3:AM Magazine, and runs #readwomen, described by the New York Times as "a rallying cry for equal treatment for women writers." She is also an illustrator.
Part I. Hotel Haunting 1. Hotel Haunting Part II. Fragments from a Hysterical Suitcase 2. Hotel Freud 3. Marriage Postcards 4. Hometel 5. Hotel Diary 6. In A German Pension 7. The Talking Cure 8. Hotel Marx 9. Postcards from 26 Hotels Notes Acknowledgements Index