Print this page

The Grand Hotel: A novel by Gregory Day

Reviewed by
July–August 2010, no. 323
Cheryl Jorgensen reviews 'The Grand Hotel: A novel' by Gregory Day

The Grand Hotel: A novel

by Gregory Day

Vintage, $32.95 pb, 470 pp

The Grand Hotel: A novel by Gregory Day

Reviewed by
July–August 2010, no. 323

According to the author’s note at the end of The Grand Hotel, this will probably be the last of his stories to be set in fictional Mangowak, a coastal town in south-western Victoria. The first, The Patron Saint of Eels (2005), won the 2006 Australian Literature Society Gold Medal. The second, Ron McCoy’s Sea of Diamonds (2007), was shortlisted for the 2008 New South Wales Premier’s Prize for Fiction.

All three novels have themes and motifs in common. There is also nostalgia for an Australia which is fast disappearing. In an interview with Michael Shirrefs for Radio National on 21 May 2008, Day said, ‘we’re definitely vulnerable when we lose our stories and we lose the sense of where we came from’. During the Howard era, he claimed, people became dismissive of the Australian vernacular, when, ironically, the prime minister was making political mileage out of so-called ‘mateship’. In his work, Day wants to ‘document the inner life of those accents and those dialects’. So it is not surprising to discover characters in his novels who seem authentically Australian. Blokes such as the guest at the Grand Hotel who brags about his sexual exploits are all too recognisable.

Cheryl Jorgensen reviews 'The Grand Hotel: A novel' by Gregory Day

The Grand Hotel: A novel

by Gregory Day

Vintage, $32.95 pb, 470 pp

From the New Issue

You May Also Like