Grand Hotel Europa
"[Grand Hotel Europa] calls to mind Nabokov, Tom Wolfe, Baudrillard, Umberto Eco, Wes Anderson . . . [A novel of] incorrigible high spirits." --Rand Richards Cooper, The New York Times Book Review
A sweeping, atmospheric novel about European identity, centered on a hotel that encapsulates the continent's manifold contradictions.
The love of my life lives in my past. Despite the alliteration it's a terrible line to have to write. I don't want to come to the conclusion that, just as for the hotel I'm staying in and the continent it is named after, the best times are behind me and I've little more to expect of the future than living off my past.
A writer takes up residence in the stately but decaying Grand Hotel Europa in order to contemplate where things went wrong with Clio--an art historian and his one great love. His recollections take him back to when they first met in Genoa, his wanton visits to her in Venice, and their dulcet trips to Malta, Palmaria, Porto Venere, and the Cinque Terre in their thrilling search for the last painting made by Caravaggio. Meanwhile, he becomes fascinated by the mysteries of the Grand Hotel Europa and the memorably eccentric characters who inhabit it, all of whom seem to hail from a halcyon era. All the while, globalization is laying claim to even this place, where a sense of lost glory hangs sulkily in the air.
Grand Hotel Europa is Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer's masterly novel of the old continent, where there's so much history that there hardly seems space left for a future. Cinematic, lyrical, and brimming with humor, this is a novel about the European condition, which, like the staff and residents of the Grand Hotel Europa, may have already seen its best days.
About this Author
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer is an award-winning Dutch writer who has more than forty titles to his name, including poetry, novels, short stories, plays, and essays. His novel La Superba won the Libris Literature Prize, awarded by the Royal Academy of Belgium. The book was a bestseller and has been published in several countries, including the United States, Germany, and Italy. Pjeijffer studied classics at Leiden University, where he earned his PhD and worked as a researcher and teacher of ancient Greek until 2004. In 2008, he moved to the northern Italian port city of Genoa, where he has lived and worked ever since.
Michele Hutchison is a translator of Dutch and French literature. In 2020, she won the Vondel Translation Prize for her translation of Stage Four, by Sander Kollaard, and the International Booker Prize, together with the author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, for The Discomfort of Evening. She is also the coauthor of The Happiest Kids in the World: How Dutch Parents Help Their Kids (and Themselves) by Doing Less.
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