BOOK REVIEWS | HARD BED HOTEL, SOUTH OF CENTRE

 

From readers of Hard Bed Hotel

Hard Bed Hotel is a hilarious book, the kind that sets you laughing aloud to yourself long after you’ve put it down…. if you can put in down, once the plot starts careening towards its unexpected dénouement.

Author Andrea Carter’s glee in bringing her oddball characters to life and off to meet their improbable destinies is infectious. Observations gleaned with a bemused eye for the absurd over long years of residence in Santiago infuse this story with fond insights into some of the least obvious corners of the city.

The “hard bed” of the title can be found in a place of eternal slumber: Santiago’s main cemetery, but pulsing with life and love. Then there’s the low-life dance halls, cut-rate consignment stores and fly-by-night botox parlours. This is a Santiago populated by the people we love getting to know over an evening of slumming, but would not otherwise invite into our homes.

And yet, when we do get to know them in the pages of this wonderful novel, they warm our hearts with their humor, endearing hubris and simple dignity.

—Lezak Shallat, Oakland California—


This intriguing and witty tale about the interwoven lives of four completely different people had me turning every page with my heart in my mouth-would she be found out? Would he get caught? When would they discover the truth? It is a very gripping read about the connections between people which they are unaware of-and makes you think about what is going on around yourself that you don’t know about. Mixed in with the suspenseful tale are the finer details about life that reflect aspects of each and every-one of us. The nuances of personality that the author brings out are truly eye-opening. How we fool ourselves daily, how we cling onto remnants from the past in the hope that life can be relived somehow. The desire to have a second chance, but the unforeseen ways that this can pan out is shown to us beautifully and amusingly in this novel. All of the characters are so magically portrayed-truly reflecting us all in a very entertaining manner that it’s impossible not to have a whole bag of mixed emotions about each one. Descriptions of places and situations are so realistic you can smell the atmosphere and feel the vibes in this story.

A humorous and absorbing read. Perfect for anyone who with an eye for the unusual, and a desire to reach further into a story, past the fiction, to find the truth that comes from within us all.”

—Katja Preston, Monduli, Arusha, Tanzania—


From readers of South of Centre

Beautiful love story full of eclectic characters
I loved this story from the first page, it made me both curious and inspired. The characters are wonderfully full and the place, well it’s a strange and wonderful town full of comedy and love. The writer really knows how to make you laugh, but at the same time there’s a serious emotional story that spans many years. Having visited Chile before, I can say that the people and places in this story are definitely rooted in truth, that there’s a real sincerity about the story and the people. It will transport you. I would recommend this book to anyone who’s a fan of eclectic fiction. And I’m hoping the author will write more soon!
from a Barnes and Noble reader


This is a great read
Set in Tocopilla, in northern Chile, it features brazen miners, gypsies, saints, and unusual friendship and a bittersweet twist at the end. a story about loss and companionship, a peak behind the closed doors of quiet people you might not notice, only to discover that their lives are as complex as the patchwork and weavings created by the novel’s most engaging, surprising character.
from an Amazon reader


It was the best book I read last summer. I’m looking forward to the sequel to see if the Father and Daughter do meet. My daughter is recommending this book for her book club.
from an Amazon reader


One of the finest I’ve ever read… Andrea Carter, a Canadian living in Chile has fashioned materials from folklore and to some extent historical events into a captivating tale of lovable and pitiful characters whose lives intersect and blend unexpectedly. The story lines, although independent for the most part come together smoothly, making it impossible to put the book down.”
from an Amazon reader


This book has me waiting for the next publication by Andrea Carter… I was drawn to keep reading until I had finished the book (and I don’t read often for pleasure) The wonderful, descriptive writing and colorful characters along with the twists of plot made for such an enjoyable read. Thank you, Andrea.
from an Amazon reader


A gentle love story… I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down until the very end–I kept wanting to know what would evolve next! Andrea Carter has captured life in northern Chile to a tee. She has very successfully woven local stories of townspeople, gypsies, miners, and political events into a charming and most unlikely tale of love. Well done! A great read!”
from an Amazon reader


From Tocopilla, Chile, a story of love, loss and fidelity
This is a great read… set in Tocopilla, in northern Chile, it features brazen miners, gypsies, saints, and unusual friendship and a bittersweet twist at the end. A story about loss and companionship, a peek behind the closed doors of quiet people you might not notice, only to discover that their lives are as complex as the patchwork and weavings created by the novel’s most engaging, surprising character.”
from an Amazon reader


I was enthralled by the lives of these people! The characters were written so cleverly that they seemed real. Their experiences changed them over the years, and brought them to life. Although the actual events were outside of my knowledge, and quite fantastic, the author brought them about in such a way as to convince me of their existence and veracity. Descriptions of Chile made me want to re-visit both the country and the book. That whole idea of relationships turning on a twist of fate was very sympathetic and bittersweet.”
from a Good Reads reader


This intriguing tale about the interlinked webs woven over time by a group of unusual people had me turning every page at a rapid rate to discover the truth of the story. The main characters are rich and complex, with a vibrancy that makes them feel like old friends. I really enjoyed the way the author moved forward and backwards between years in the story, it made the tale very exciting. Its beautiful descriptions took me right to Chile. The combination of humour and compassion along with harsh realities of life made it feel like a true story!”
from a Good Reads reader


I enjoyed the book. It was like a foreign trip for me. Relishing the moving images and the scenes created. Read the book to know more about the unique journey. With a touch of magic realism, the story goes leaps and bounds beyond are imagination. The characters in the book are well connected.”
from Book Reveiws by Book Lovers

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