Announcing our Top 20 Books of 2022

Reviews of The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith

The Frangipani Hotel

Stories

by Violet Kupersmith

The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith X
The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2014, 256 pages

    Paperback:
    Feb 2015, 256 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

These stories - based on traditional Vietnamese tales - blends the old world and the new with fantastical, chilling, and original explorations of the ghosts that continue to haunt us: those of the Vietnam War.

A self-assured and stunning collection by an astonishingly gifted new writer, these stories - based on traditional Vietnamese tales - are sure to appeal to fans of Karen Russell, Jennifer Egan, Colson Whitehead, George Saunders, and Téa Obrecht. The Frangipani Hotel blends the old world and the new with fantastical, chilling, and original explorations of the ghosts that continue to haunt us: those of the Vietnam War.

THE RED VEIL

I don't want to bore you with my own history, with the reasons that I joined the order and the chronicles of my meandering faith; that is not my purpose here. But some background is, I feel, necessary. I sought out Sister Emmanuel during the first year of my novitiate because I was considering leaving the convent. I didn't want to approach Mother Superior for guidance: She was the classic Catholic nightmare, barking after naughty schoolboys with her ruler in hand. Sister Emmanuel was quiet, and from time to time I encountered her taking early morning walks around the garden of the Stations of the Cross. She was a stoop-backed woman with white hair and nut-brown skin crosshatched with wrinkles, and she was always wearing a kind smile and an enormous pair of dark, square sunglasses. I had never seen her without the glasses—she even wore them during Mass—and for this she had acquired secret nicknames like "Sister Kim Jong-il" and "the Terminator" from ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Kupersmith's wit is effortless, and she employs a particularly impressive mixture of first- and third-person approaches. Her knowledge of Vietnamese history, both ancient folktales and post-War reconstruction, is masterful, yet she so carefully interweaves this material with her storylines that nothing ever seems superfluous...continued

Full Review (770 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Rebecca Foster).

Media Reviews

Library Journal
Starred Review. The wunderkind moniker will soon enough be attached to the 1989-born Kupersmith, who wrote most of these stories as a Mt. Holyoke undergraduate. Her mature-beyond-her-years debut deserves equal shelf space with other spare, provocative collections, such as Paul Yoon's Once the Shore, Lauren Groff's Delicate Edible Birds, and Yoko Ogawa's Revenge.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The stories shimmer with life. The heat and tumult of Vietnam's cities are palpable, and the awed wonderment of humans confronted with supernatural occurrences is artfully conveyed. These polished stories mark Kupersmith, who is in her early 20s, as one to watch.

Booklist
This first collection introduces a writer to watch and belongs in any library serving a short story readership.

Kirkus Reviews
At her best, Kupersmith writes lyrically haunting tales; she's a writer to watch.

Author Blurb Lisa See
Violet Kupersmith has woven together culture, tradition, family, and ghosts to create a series of short stories that are as fresh as they are mesmerizing. These stories will haunt you long after the last words have drifted off the page.

Author Blurb Téa Obreht, author of The Tiger’s Wife
Surgically precise and feverishly imaginative

Reader Reviews

Diane S

The Frangipani hotel
The Frangipani is an old run down hotel in Saigon and where the story, Reception, takes place. One of my favorites and the story that had the most humor. I loved all of these stories, ghost tales and folk tales all having some hidden meaning to the ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Vietnamese Legends

As evidenced in The Frangipani Hotel, Vietnam abounds with mythology and ghost stories. In the country's creation myth, Dragon Lord Lạc Long Quân and his fairy wife, Au Cợ, hatched their 100 children from eggs, giving rise to Vietnam's 100 family surnames. Lạc Long Quân had an undersea palace at the southern coast, but Au Cợ and 50 children stayed in the northern mountains, thus peopling the country's two distinct terrains. In Kupersmith's story "Red Veil," Sister Emmanuel recounts this legend before embarking on her personal history: "I will start at the very beginning—the beginning we all were taught as children. Thousands of years ago, a dragon prince and a fairy spirit fell in love..." Thus ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Violet Kupersmith

If you liked The Frangipani Hotel, try these:

  • The Mountains Sing jacket

    The Mountains Sing

    by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

    Published 2021

    About this book

    Winner of the 2020 BookBrowse Debut Award

    The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multi-generational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War. "Both vast in scope and intimate in its telling ... Moving and riveting." - Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

  • The Unwinding of the Miracle jacket

    The Unwinding of the Miracle

    by Julie Yip-Williams

    Published 2020

    About this book

    As a young mother facing a terminal diagnosis, Julie Yip-Williams began to write her story, a story like no other. What began as the chronicle of an imminent and early death became something much more - a powerful exhortation to the living.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    Love in the Big City
    by Sang Young Park
    Set in Seoul, South Korea, Love in the Big City is a warm, playful, emotionally rich novel that ...
  • Book Jacket
    Bewilderment
    by Richard Powers
    In 2019, Richard Powers won the Pulitzer Prize for The Overstory, a sprawling novel whose characters...
  • Book Jacket: I'm the Girl
    I'm the Girl
    by Courtney Summers
    YA author Courtney Summers doesn't believe in shielding her teenage readers from the world's darkest...
  • Book Jacket: They're Going to Love You
    They're Going to Love You
    by Meg Howrey
    Teenage Carlisle lives with her mother in Ohio, but their relationship has never felt particularly ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Scatterlings
    by Resoketswe Martha Manenzhe

    The debut novel of a gifted storyteller who has become a sensation in her native South Africa.

Wordplay

The Big Holiday Wordplay

Enter Now

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Cradles of the Reich
by Jennifer Coburn
Three women, a nation seduced by a madman, and the Nazi breeding program to create a so-called master race.
Who Said...

The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.