The Guest Room was the latest book by Chris Bohjalian, an author whose other works have been pretty spectacular. I don’t know that I would have finished reading this had the book not accompanied me along to jury duty. This was a dark story that revolved around a young girl’s journey through becoming a sex slave that culminated with a murder in Richard’s house. I would categorize this as half a family drama that focused on the damage the bachelor party events had on Richard’s marriage and half a heart wrenching story of how Anahit’s life was stolen from her by a man who forced her into prostitution.
Richard was the innocent host who offered his home for the location of his younger brother’s bachelor party and got much more than he bargained for. When two girls arrived with their Russian bodyguards the tone of the evening became more sinister once it was clear this was more than a jokey stripper show. Some events popped up in the plot but then never really had an impact on the characters.
Richard’s story was a little flat despite the murder and mayhem surrounding him. He came off as a good guy and I liked him, but I didn’t really understand the path he took in the novel. Even though his narrative ended with a bang, for me there was a disconnect between his journey and what was being said about him. I could have done without the narrative from Richard’s nine year old daughter because it didn’t add anything for me.
This was an okay read, but was not my favorite from this author. Midwives is still the best thing he has written.