7.30.2022

finished reading

This debut novel is about a hapless, has-been painter, Bennett, who rents out his luxurious London home a la Airbnb earning him the designation of Super Host.  The story unfolds in his interactions with his guests, as each chapter focuses on a guest.  Interestingly, each guest is somehow affiliated with the art world.  Not much action takes place, it is character-driven. There's a lot of loneliness in this novel, some sexual violence, and domestic violence, and each character struggles to find purpose in their day-to-day life.  Because there is not a lot of resolution in any of the stories, I was left wanting more.

From the publisher:
Bennett Driscoll is a Turner Prize-nominated artist who was once a rising star. Now, at age 55, his wife has left him, he hasn't sold a painting in two years, and hasn't been reviewed in five. His gallery wants to stop selling his work, claiming they'll have more value retrospectively...when he's dead. So, left with a large West London home and no income, he's forced to move into his artist's studio in the back garden and rent out his house on the popular vacation rental site, AirBed.

A stranger now in his own home, money is finally coming in again and Bennett is getting some of the best reviews of his career, albeit on AirBed. But with his daughter Mia off at art school and any new relationships fizzling out at best, he struggles to find purpose in his day-to-day. That all changes when three different guests--lonely American Alicia; tortured artist Emma; and cautiously optimistic divorcee Kirstie--unwittingly unlock the pieces of himself that have been lost to him for too long.

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