Alice in Wonderland meets The Shining when four travelers are stranded in Good Night, Idaho, during a freak blizzard.
There is something seductive about the Travelers Rest hotel. For Julia Addison, it is settling into an oddly familiar bed in the hotel and dreaming, beyond worry about her husband and son. And for her husband, Tonio, there is a mysterious blonde woman in silver shoes whom he follows, leaving their son, Dewey, behind. Dewey is unimpressed by this strange hotel in this strange town where the snow never seems to stop falling. Sure, he receives more chocolate pie than he could ever eat from the rough but sympathetic owners of the diner, but the novelty of having no parents to whom he must report quickly wears thin. And then there’s Uncle Robbie, fresh from rehab, who looks at the whole adventure as a chance to go on the binge of a lifetime and finally cut ties with his responsible older brother. Mostly they flit in and out of their separate experiences that seem to take place in varying times and places, though occasionally one character will catch a ghostly glimpse of another. As the truth begins to come out about Good Night’s history and the Addisons’ role in it, there is ultimately a rather satisfactory answer to most of the mystery and questions and flashbacks. Morris (Call It What You Want, 2010, etc.) insists on using epigraphs from Proust throughout the book, which detracts from rather than adds to the novel’s own illustration of the themes of memory and reality. Though a bit slow to begin, because the characters find themselves lost before we even get to know them, the novel gradually proves itself weighty, suspenseful, and even wistful.
The physics of Good Night might be questionable, but the lasting impact on the characters is rather poignant.