The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian
Part crime thriller, part tragedy, part tender human story, author Chris Bohjalian weaves it all together in The Guest Room resulting in a compelling read on the fragility of one’s life. This is the story of Richard Chapman – a pretty nice family guy, financially successful and happily married, and, like the rest of us, a mixture of strengths and weaknesses, failings and virtues. Richard makes one thoughtless decision resulting in catastrophe and dissolution of his ‘normal’ life. Chapman’s family life is counterpoint to the lives of the two young Russian women, Alexandra and Sonja, hired to “entertain” at his brother’s bachelor party. The innocence of Chapman’s nine year old daughter and her fascination with Barbie dolls, colorful tights and dance classes mirrors the innocence of Alexandra before life takes a tragic turn and she becomes an expensive commodity in the world of sex trafficking. We watch in fascination and horror as Richard’s life unravels and Alexandra reveals more of what it takes to stay alive in the underworld. Murderous Russian thugs loom over the story like your worst nightmare – will Richard and Alexandra survive?
This is Bohjalian’s 18th novel, most of which have been New York Times Bestsellers. Three have been made into movies. He tackles difficult subjects head on. I wish I could say that use of women and children for sex slavery is a fictional creation, however sex trafficking is all too real. Human trafficking is a $150 billion dollar industry. About two million children every year are exploited in the global commercial sex trade. In The Guest Room, Bohjalian boldly explores the universal issues of morality, trust, redemption and human dignity.
Bohjalian is an author with heart, social conscience and a gifted pen. This is a quick read guaranteed to make you think and feel.
Staff of Wellington Square Book Shop