BookBrowse Reviews The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith

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The Frangipani Hotel

Stories

by Violet Kupersmith

The Frangipani Hotel
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2014, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2015, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster

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Violet Kupersmith's magical debut draws on Vietnamese ghost stories and war history.

Violet Kupersmith began composing these nine short stories as a student at Mount Holyoke College, inspired by her Vietnamese grandmother's oral traditions (see 'Beyond the Book'). So perhaps there is a trace of herself in the protagonist of the purely dialogical first tale, "Boat Story." An indolent American high school student pesters her grandmother for a juicy account of escaping Vietnam: "your boat person story? Jackpot. Communists! Thai pirates! Starvation! That's an A-plus story." But Grandma tells a ghost story instead: when their houseboat hit a storm, she and her husband saw a half-skeletal figure walking towards them across the sea. The incident left a sense of disaster deferred – "On that stormy day the spirits did not take us, but they wrote our names down in their book and we knew they would eventually come collecting." Grandma ends on a rhetorical question: "...

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