Grand Hotel Europa
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s moving and addictive masterpiece of European identity, nostalgia and the end of an era.
‘The love of my life lives in my past. That is, despite the alliteration, a terrible sentence to write. I do not want to come to the conclusion that, as it is the case for the hotel where I am staying and the continent after which it is named, the best time is behind me and that I have little more to expect from the future than to live on my past.’
A writer takes residence in the illustrious but decaying Grand Hotel Europa, to think about where things went wrong with Clio, with whom he fell in love in Genoa and moved to Venice. He reconstructs a compelling story of love in times of mass tourism, about their trips to Malta, Palmaria, Portovenere and the Cinque Terre and their thrilling search for the last painting of Caravaggio. Meanwhile, he becomes fascinated by the mysteries of Grand Hotel Europe and gets more and more involved with the memorable characters who inhabit it, and who seem to come from a more elegant time. All the while, globalisation seems to be grabbing hold even on this place frozen in time.
Grand Hotel Europa is Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s masterly novel on the old continent, where so much history resides that there is no place left for a future and where the most realistic future perspectives are offered in the form of exploiting the past in the shape of tourism.
‘A masterpiece: grandiose style, brilliant and rich. It will defy the ages.’ – Trouw
‘It wants to impress, and it impresses. It is that big-bigger-biggest grip which makes the novel into an astounding masterpiece. It is also a wonderful book, which you will read with increasingly feverish eagerness. Pfeijffer captures the zeitgeist and serves it up irresistibly. He wrote the novel of the year.’ – NRC Handelsblad