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Literature / The Hotel New Hampshire

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The Hotel New Hampshire is a 1981 novel by John Irving. It tells the story of the Berrys, an eccentric family, as they attempt to run a series of hotels.

It could be said to be Irving's most typical novel; That Other Wiki had a chart of all the recurring motifs in Irving's fiction (bears, prostitution, the city of Vienna, and so on) and The Hotel New Hampshire was the only one of his books to contain all of them.

Adapted into a 1984 film directed by Tony Richardson and starring Jodie Foster, Beau Bridges, Rob Lowe, and Nastassja Kinski.


Tropes featured include:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Franny with Ernst (and Chipper to some extent)
  • Anorgasmia: Subverted with "Screaming Annie" the hooker who fakes very loud orgasms. It later turns out they were not fake.
  • Asexuality: It's never spelled out in so many words, but Lily is definitely an example. She has no interest in sex, and is at times described as directly prudish.
  • Arc Words: "Sorrow floats," "Keep passing the open windows."
  • As Herself: In-universe, with a side-order of Dawson Casting. When Lily's first book, an autobiography of the Berry family, is turned into a movie, Franny ends up playing her sixteen-year-old self in the movie, despite being twenty-four at the time. John describes Franny's performance as the only authentic one in the movie.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Bears real (State o'Maine), costumed (Susie) and metaphorical pervade the book.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bi the Way: Franny and Susie. Averted with Frank.
  • Broken Bird: Both Franny and Susie.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: John and Franny, in a rare case where it doesn't end badly.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: For John and his siblings.
  • Driven to Suicide: Lilly.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: Screaming Annie earned that name for a reason.
  • Misaimed Fandom: In-universe, Lilly's second book has one.
  • The Pollyanna: Win is always convinced everything will turn out right this time.
  • Rape and Switch: In the movie Franny and Susie are 'turned gay' by rape and eventually turned back again by the love of a good man. Frank is, however, gay in his own right, leaving the impression that the creator thinks male homosexuality is real but lesbianism is nothing more than a neurotic (and curable) fear of men.
  • Rape as Drama
  • Schemer: Win.
  • Straight Gay: Frank. One of the criticisms John has of the in-universe movie adaptation of Lilly's autobiographical novel is that the movie turned Frank into a Camp Gay stereotype.
  • Taxidermy Terror: The preserved body of the Berry's dead dog Sorrow frightens quite a few people before sinking into the icy waters of the North Atlantic; among other things, it prevents John from losing his virginity and literally frightens his grandfather to death.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: The radicals in Vienna are nominally Communist, but they're extremely vague about what their actual goals are.


Example of: