The first book I chose for the 1929 Club was one that I have long heard of but never read. It was also coincidentally chosen for my Classics Club Spin!
In the 1920’s, the Grand Hotel is the most expensive in Berlin. Staying there are several guests whose lives are going to be changed.
Grusinskaya is a great ballet dancer still at the top of her form. But her clearly classical style has gone out of fashion, and after a lifetime of being alone, she’s very tired.
Kringelein is a poor clerk who has just found out he is dying and wants to experience a few weeks of luxury and “living.”
Doctor Otternschlag is an injured World War I veteran who hangs around the hotel doing nothing. He begins taking Kringelein around Berlin.
Baron Geigern is young, handsome, and personable, but he makes a living as a cat burglar, and he’s after Grusinskaya’s pearls.
Herr Preysing is the general manager of a company there to make a deal who ends up in a mid-life crisis.
Grand Hotel is a zeitgeist novel, very much a product of its time. Baum’s characters show their foibles or redeem themselves. Each one is flawed and complex.