Have you ever wandered down the street at night and noticed the many glowing windows which are lighting up the area?  Twinkling in the dark stillness.  Whether they be private residences, condo buildings or hotel rooms- the question in our minds remains the same.  What is actually happening behind those closed curtains?  What would it be like to enter that world and actually get a taste of it?  Would the result be marvelous and memorable- or gloomy and disappointing?  What are the people in those rooms actually doing… and would we want to be part of it?  Abandoning our own humdrum existence for the opportunity presented behind the proverbial curtain number three.  If these thoughts have ever entered your mind while peering through the looking glass of the arcane, then Hotel Obscure by author Lisette Brodey is a must read!  A heart-rending – but beautiful- look at the human condition and what actually happens beyond those cryptic curtains.

Hotel Obscure is a collection of short stories which are woven together into one book.  There are 17 tales in total and they focus on the residents of the shabby and rundown Obscure Hotel.  Each story is unique and distinct in its own right, but they are made to be read in order as there are some clear connections and a reappearance of characters in various tales.  Without a doubt, each story is entirely captivating and intriguing and will claw at the reader’s emotions like a ravenous beast!  From the rise and fall of a promising musician, the destructive aftermath of familial abuse, and the desperate search for friendship and love in what can be a cold and unforgiving world.  Each tale is brilliant, and although it is quite difficult to pick a favorite- “Twenty-Seven” stands out as the top for me personally.

Lisette Brodey’s writing is smooth and beautiful all the way through this collection.  We are transported into a land of desperate and despondent souls… yet we want to be there!  The writing embraces us tight and triggers our emotions.  From sadness to rage.  We are able to get a front row seat and see the fleeting and esoteric nature of the human condition.  Poor souls at their worst… longing for days gone by.  All of this takes place at the Hotel Obscure which virtually acts as a confessional for the many woeful souls residing inside its belly.  All of this is captured through engaging character interactions and dialogue which displays the author’s impressive writing skills.

While the plot and setting of this book will undoubtedly engross the reader- so will the many dynamic characters.  To be clear, these are not individuals who you will forget about after the book is closed.  They are cleverly developed and memorable, and will embed themselves deep into the reader’s psyche.  They grow in depth throughout the pages and welcome us into their pitiful lives.  We feel their emotions and as such it ignites our own.  That is quite a feat to pull off within the naturally restrictive confines of a short story.

To be clear, this is not a light-hearted read.  If you are looking for sunshine and Unicorns then this is probably not your best pick.  However, if you want to be transported through the looking glass of Hotel Obscure and see what really happens behind those twinkling lights… then be sure to check-in with Henry at the front desk.  I can guarantee you will not be disappointed that you did