Cover image for The Hotel Alleluia : a novel
The Hotel Alleluia : a novel
Roy, Lucinda.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, [2000]

Physical Description:
355 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"The Hotel Alleluia" is the story of two half-sisters who are separated in childhood and raised continents apart. Joan, the white sister, grows up in North Carolina, while Ursuline, the African sister, is adopted by nuns in West Africa. Joan's quest to find Ursuline following their mother's death sets off a whirlwind of events in Africa as the sisters join forces with Gordon Delacroix, Joan's former lover, and Jeremy Scott, a troubled English writer. The days they spend together in the violence and bloodshed of a disintegrating nation change all four of them forever. Eventually Joan and Ursuline escape to America, where they are forced to reevaluate what is meant by love, faith, and racial identity.

Compelling and unforgettable, The Hotel Alleluia proves again that Lucinda Roy is one of the most original and lyrical voices in African-American fiction.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In this follow-up to her auspicous debut, Lady Moses [BKL F 1 98], black poet Roy revisits her signature theme of racial identity in a compelling novel set both in Africa and the U.S. Following her mother's death, Joan Plum is determined to find her black half-sister Ursuline, raised by nuns in West Africa. In a monumental case of bad timing, Joan arrives in West Africa just as the nation is wracked by a violent coup. Her relationship with her ex-lover, black American Gordon Delacroix, who has worked in Africa with the Peace Corps for more than 20 years, puts her in jeopardy. Joan and Ursuline, a serious, pious novitiate, manage to make the last plane out of the country, but then Joan is pulled off the plane by the hired thugs of a corrupt politician. Gordon and Ursuline are left to deal with the bureaucratic nightmare that ensues while the country erupts in violence. The talented Roy weds an almost operatic story line to a lush, lyrical prose style even as she raises hard questions about personal responsibility and the nature of commitment. --Joanne Wilkinson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Familial, racial and political issues as well as character are Roy's concern in this resonant second novel, after the well-received Lady Moses. A successful software designer in North Carolina, Joan Plum discovers a Web site promoting African art and serendipitously spots a painting signed by Ursuline Shebar--a name she recognizes as that of her half-black half-sister, whom their mother abandoned in Africa years ago. With the help of her ex-lover, Gordon Delacroix, an African-American and one-time Peace Corps member who lives in war-torn West Africa and investigates corporate industrial pollution, Joan tracks down her sister, now residing in a convent compound in an unnamed country. After a particularly bloody assault by government rebels on the village marketplace, the nuns urge a hesitant Ursuline to return with Joan to the States as a scholarship art student. But as the sisters are on their way to the airport, Joan is kidnapped by government thugs who are seeking to keep Gordon's investigation under wraps. After several botched attempts, Joan's release is finally negotiated, but Joan's and Ursuline's relationship hits snags in the U.S. when a traumatized Joan blames Ursuline for not rescuing her sooner, as well as for engaging Delacroix's romantic interest. Meanwhile, Ursuline is alienated by the excess of comforts and luxury Americans take for granted, and bravely decides to return to her village convent after hearing reports that it has been marauded by government troops. As in Lady Moses, Roy's heroines try to make homes for themselves where they feel at peace, whether it seems the logical place for them to be or not. The beautifully sustained intensity of the narrative and a multiculturally varied and delightfully authentic supporting cast keep the reader's attention from the first chapter to the last. Agent, Jean Naggar. 5-city author tour. (Jan.) FYI: Roy's 1995 poetry collection won the Eighth Mountain Poetry Prize. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In this latest novel from the author of Lady Moses, two half-sisters, one white, the other African, are reunited amidst revolution in West Africa after being separated in childhood and raised continents apart. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.