Strange things are happening at the Grand Hotel...
A hotel as a work of art in little ol' Mangowak? It was about as unlikely as an indoor creek.'
Robbed of his zest for life by the absurd innovations of his local council, including knocking down the only pub in his beloved home town and roofing over a section of the creek to protect swimmers from the rain, artist Noel Lea exiles himself in the hills above Mangowak, on the southwest Victorian coast. He returns to find an unexpected destiny awaits. At a turning point in the town's history it seems he has a crucial role to play, as the unlikely publican of an even unlikelier hotel.
This is a novel about an Australian pub twenty-first-century style, where the toilets play automated Dadaist recordings, Happy Hour comes with a blessing from the Pope and the patrons' libidos are as voracious as their thirst for the local ale. As events in the hotel take a twist that not even its inventive publican could have imagined, a long-held local mystery begins finally to unravel. Noel and his friends find themselves in uncharted territory, and, to make matters worse, the local authorities are hell-bent on closing them down.
From the award-winning author of THE PATRON SAINT OF EELS and RON MCCOY’S SEA OF DIAMONDS, Gregory Day's third novel is a witty, earthy and lyrical tour de force that takes some well-aimed swipes at the aspirations and absurdities of contemporary life.
Reading Group Book Questions
Robbed of his zest for life by the absurd innovations of the local
shire, including knocking down the only pub in his beloved home town
and roofing over a section of the creek to protect bathers from the
rain, artist Noel Lea exiles himself in the hills above Mangowak, on
the south-west Victorian coast. He returns to find an unexpected
destiny awaits. At the turning point in the town's history, it seems he
has a crucial role to play, as the unlikely publican of an even more
There is much to enjoy about The Grand Hotel, and much to recognise about ourselves, although I'm not sure you are going to find random dadaist ramblings as a backtrack in the men's loos in your average corner local!
Day clearly has an affection for landscape and the sparse towns that dot rural Australia, but you could never accuse him of being mawkish or sentimental.
You will be sharing this one.
Praise for THE PATRON SAINT OF EELS:
* ‘You know those books where when you finish, you need to pause for a moment, holding the book tightly, because it was just so lovely? THE PATRON SAINT OF EELS is one of those. A gentle, thoughtful, beautiful story.’ -- AUSTRALIAN BOOKSELLER & PUBLISHER
* ‘If you had a dollar for every book like this knocking around at the moment, that would add up to exactly one dollar. Gregory Day shares with the young Tim Winton an ability to use and explore a rich spiritual tradition without being imprisoned by it.’ -- SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
* ‘Gentle in spirit, reverent and celebratory.’ -- THE AGE
* ‘A wonderfully original work.’ -- SUN HERALD
PRAISE FOR RON McCOY’S SEA OF DIAMONDS:
* ‘Delicately wrought and wonderfully executed, with a lively sense of humour and a prepossessing sense of place. It is in the confounding of expectations that the pleasures of this singular novel lie.’ -- THE AGE
* ‘Like all good novels with a strong sense of place, RON McCOY’S SEA OF DIAMONDS both celebrates and transcends its location. It is a story of finding yourself. I am pleased to have found Gregory Day.’ -- AUSTRALIAN BOOK REVIEW
* ‘This is the type of book that defies genres - you could call it literary because it is so well written - but really it’s intrinsic. The narrative lives within all Australians. It shimmers.’ -- READINGS BOOKS & MUSIC MAGAZINE
Number Of Pages: 480
Published: 1st July 2010
Publisher: Random House Australia
Dimensions (cm): 23.2 x 15.5 x 3.4
Weight (kg): 0.62