Monday, March 31, 2014

G275 Book Review of The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith

General Information:

Name of Book: The Frangipani Hotel

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9331-8

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Year it was published: 2014

Author: Violet Kupersmith

About the Author: 
(From TLC)

About Violet Kupersmith

Violet Kupersmith was born in rural Pennsylvania in 1989 and grew up outside of Philadelphia. Her father is American and her mother is a former boat refugee from Vietnam. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College she received a yearlong Fulbright Fellowship to teach and research in the Mekong Delta. She is currently at work on her first novel.

Overall theme: 

"Con, if you were listening you would have learned almost everything you need to know about your history. The first rule of the country we come from is that it always gives you what you ask for, but never exactly what you want." (page 10)

1. Boat Story

Short Summary:

A granddaughter looking for an exciting story that should guarantee her an A in history, asks her Vietnamese grandmother to tell her the story of how she came to America by a boat, but instead she gets a different story. The story is told by dialogue with no third or first person narrative.

2. Reception

Short Summary:

Phi's family owns the rundown Frangipani hotel, and Phi recounts a story in first person narrative of meeting a strange and beautiful girl who seems to be familiar with history and people at this establishment and who seems to have an agenda of her own, especially when it comes to Phi and the American visitor.

3. Skin and Bones

Short Summary:

Thuy and Kieu, two Vietnamese-American sisters who hail from Houston travel to Vietnam in hopes of Thuy becoming skinnier. For a while the plan works, but Thuy becomes lonely as well as hungry and very soon she makes friends with an unexpected visitor. The story is written in third person narrative.

4. Little Brother

Short Summary:

In first person narrative, a nameless Vietnamese male narrator details some trips he made through the land of Vietnam, and tells a story of how he was tricked into agreeing taking a dying young man by the name of Minh into a city far away, with an admonition of never giving him the name. For entertainment he tells Minh a story of his life and has to pay for the consequences.

5. The Red Veil

Short Summary:

A nun starts to lose her faith in god and in life and when she shares her troubles with Sister Emmanuel, Sister Emmanuel tells her a story of two sisters and a step-wife, as well as teaching her to cook egg rolls. The story also reveals an interesting past about Sister Emmanuel. The story is written in first person narrative.

6. Guests

Short Summary:

Mia is an American woman who makes a conscious choice to work at Vietnam, lives the daily grind in a country she dislikes among the people she cares nothing for. She also has to deal with her boyfriend Charlie's mistakes and her fate is interesting. The story is written in third person narrative.

7. Turning Back

Short Summary:

Told in first person narrative, Phuong Nguyen is a nineteen year old Vietnamese-American girl who works stocking groceries overnight as well as having an older brother that's kind of a gangster and a disorderly family. One day behind a dumpster she meets an old man who tells her an interesting tale about himself.

8. One-Finger

Short Summary:

Three men who used to be soldiers during Vietnam war known as Poet, Calligrapher and Guitarist get together often and try to create masterpieces unsuccessfully. One night however, something strange happens during their get-together and the Calligrapher has no choice but to tell them a tale he prefers not to tell, as well as ask a favor from his long-time friends. The story is told in third person narrative

9. Dragon Descending

Short Summary:

Mrs. Nguyen is a resident in St. Ignatius who is continuously haunted by her past, as well as seeing very vivid images from the Vietnam War. Her daughter isn't able to to make it for Vietnamese New Years, thus the mother has to create an excuse for her daughter to be able to fly out there.

Personal Opinion:

I was really impressed with the writing style as well as the interesting and fascinating quirky characters that inhabit these pages; my favorites being Phuong from Turning Back as well as two sisters from Skin and Bones. In the first half of the book its pretty obvious how the stories tended to be more on the supernatural and ghostly side. In the latter half, with exception of Turning Back and One-Finger, in particular Guests and Dragon Descending, I had a hard time understanding how they are supernatural, or how they have the supernatural element.

This is for TLC Book Tour

Violet Kupersmith’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, March 3rd:  Bibliophiliac
Tuesday, March 4th:  The Things You Can Read
Wednesday, March 5th:  Savvy Verse and Wit
Monday, March 10th:  50 Books Project
Tuesday, March 11th:  The Written World
Tuesday, March 11th:  Books a la Mode – author guest post
Wednesday, March 12th:  River City Reading
Thursday, March 13th:  Under My Apple Tree
Monday, March 17th:  1330 V
Wednesday, March 19th:  Melody & Words
Thursday, March 20th:  The Relentless Reader
Monday, March 24th:  A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, March 25th:  Suko’s Notebook
Wednesday, March 26th:  Lit and Life
Thursday, March 27th:  Too Fond 
Monday, March 31st:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Tuesday, April 1st:  Mandy Boles: Life Between Books
Wednesday, April 2nd:  Guiltless Reading
Thursday, April 3rd:  Books and Movies
Monday, April 7th:  The Lost Entwife
Tuesday, April 8th:  Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, April 9th:  girlichef
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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