The Hotel New Hampshire

Publisher: Vintage Canada

“The first of my father’s illusions was that bears could survive the life lived by human beings, and the second was that human beings could survive a life led in hotels.”

So says John Berry, son of a hapless dreamer, brother to a cadre of eccentric siblings, and chronicler of the lives lived, the loves experienced, the deaths met, and the myriad strange and wonderful times encountered by the family Berry. Hoteliers, pet-bear owners, friends of Freud (the animal trainer and vaudevillian, that is), and playthings of mad fate, they “dream on” in a funny, sad, outrageous, and moving novel by the remarkable author of A Son of the Circus and A Prayer for Owen Meany.


Chapter One — The Bear Called State O’Maine

The summer my father bought the bear, none of us was born — we weren’t even conceived: not Frank, the oldest; not Franny, the loudest; not me, the next; and not the youngest of us, Lilly and Egg. My father and mother were hometown kids who...
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1. When Freud gives his blessing to John's mother and father in 1939 at Arbuthnot-by-the-Sea, he tells Mother, "Forgive him, even though it will cost you." What do you think Freud was referring to? A specific event or Father's lifelong dreaminess?

2. Irving frequently gives the reader an important piece...

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"Like Garp...a startlingly original family saga that combines macabre humor with a Dickensian sentiment and outrage at cruelty, dogmatism and injustice." Time

"Rejoice! John Irving has written another book according to your world…. You must read this book." Los Angeles Times

"Spellbinding…. Intensely human…. A high-wire act of dazzling virtuosity." Cosmopolitan