The Paris Review

The Vocabulary of Tourism: An Interview with Laura van den Berg

In The Third Hotel, Laura van den Berg’s phantasmagoric fourth book, a recently widowed woman named Clare travels alone to Havana to attend the Festival of New Latin American Cinema. There, she sees her deceased husband Richard and everything she knew—or thought she knew—about their marriage is thrown into turmoil. It’s the perfect premise for a novel that, in van den Berg’s hands, is both emotionally nuanced and philosophically profound.

Part of the book’s appeal is the way van den Berg shines a light on the casual misogyny of some of our once-revered artists. “Torture the women, Hitchcock was reported to have said when a young director asked him for advice,” she writes. And, “If you leave a woman, though, you probably ought to shoot her, Hemingway had once written in a letter.” The novel’s clear-eyed scrutiny of the treatment of women in horror films made me rethink a lot of my own viewing habits as

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