Published by Doubleday on January 5th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Crime, Family Life
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls comes the spellbinding tale of a party gone horribly wrong: two men lie dead in a suburban living room; two women are on the run from police; and a marriage is ripping apart at the seams.
When Richard Chapman offers to host his younger brother's bachelor party, he expects a certain amount of debauchery. He sends his wife, Kristin, and young daughter off to his mother-in-law's for the weekend, and he opens his Westchester home to his brother's friends and their hired entertainment. What he does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, a dangerously intimate moment in his guest bedroom, and two naked women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night. In the aftermath, Richard's life rapidly spirals into a nightmare. The police throw him out of his home, now a crime scene; his investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave; and his wife finds herself unable to forgive him for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, faces a much graver danger. In one breathless, violent night, she is free, running to escape the police who will arrest her and the gangsters who will kill her in a heartbeat. A captivating, chilling story about shame and scandal, The Guest Room is a riveting novel from one of our greatest storytellers.
What happens when a momentary lapse of judgement that can change your life? something that will cost Richard everything when he decides to host his brother, Philip’s bachelor party. Philip is nothing like his upstanding brother who is married with a daughter and a successful Wall Street career. Richard convinces his wife, Kristin, that it will just be a party with a couple of strippers and won’t last more than a couple of hours. That all goes out the window when Philip’s friend, Spencer, hires a Russian gangster to supply the girls. One of the girls, Sonja, decides to take out her “keepers” and escape with the other girl Alexandra.
The story alternates the point of view between Richard and Alexandra and how that intersects with Philip and Kristin. I was heartbroken while reading Alexandra’s story and how she was tricked into a life of prostitution. If you don’t understand what is happening with the grimy underworld of sex workers, this book will open your eyes. Yes, Richard’s brother Philip is a slimy character and Spencer is quite possibly the slimiest of all when he tries to extort Richard to pay for his lawyer since everyone at the party is suing him. I know it seems like I have given away the plot but the whole thing is summarized in the first three pages but the story covers the aftermath of the party and the deaths.
I have enjoyed all of Bohjalian’s books that I have read and he always goes to the top of my list when it comes to my book group. There are so many themes to discuss and argue over. The characters are so well-developed and so subtly that by the end of the book it feels like the Chapmans are your neighbors. Bohjalian’s books always seem to be ripped out of future headlines. He reminds me a lot of Jodi Picoult that he takes current hot topics and frames them in a relatable way.
About the Author
Chris Bohjalian is the author of seventeen books, including Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, arriving July 8, 2014 from Doubleday.
His other books include such New York Times bestsellers as The Light in the Ruins, The Sandcastle Girls, The Night Strangers, Secrets of Eden, Skeletons at the Feast, The Double Bind, Before Your Know Kindness, and Midwives.
Chris’s awards include the ANCA Arts and Letters Award for The Sandcastle Girls, as well as the Saint Mesrob Mashdots Medal; the New England Society Book Award for The Night Strangers; the New England Book Award; a Boston Public Library Literary Light; and the Anahid Literary Award. His novel, Midwives, was a number one New York Times bestseller, a selection of Oprah’s Book Club, and a New England Booksellers Association Discovery pick. His earlier novels have been selected as “Best Books of the Year” by the Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Hartford Courant, Publishers’ Weekly, and Salon. His work had been translated into over 25 languages and three times become movies (Secrets of Eden, Midwives, and Past the Bleachers).
He has written for a wide variety of magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Reader’s Digest, and the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, and has been a columnist for Gannett’s Burlington Free Press since 1992. Chris graduated from Amherst College, and lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter.
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