Friday, 14 March 2014

Review: Zenith Hotel by Oscar Coop-Phane

Zenith Hotel by Oscar Coop-Phane
Publisher:
Arcadia
Release date: 15 March 2014
Rating: *** and a half
Back cover blurb: 'I'm a street prostitute. Not a call girl or anything, no, a real street whore, with stiletto heels and menthol cigarettes'. Nanou gives a detailed account of her day, from the moment she wakes up with a foul taste in her mouthh, in her sordid rented room, until the minute she crawls back into her bed at night to sleep. Interwoven with her story are stark portraits of her clients. Oscar Coop-Phane invents an astonishing cast of orignial and deeply human characters - losers, defeated by the world around them - who seek solace in Nanou's arms. Original and moving, this novel deftly paints a world of solitude and sadness, illuminated by precious moments of tenderness and acts of kindness. A series of vignettes, written in spare, elegant, yet deeply powerful prose, with an insight that defies the author's years, Zenith Hotel is nothing short of a masterpiece.


Zenith hotel is quite literally, the smallest novel I have ever read. Around the size of a small pocket guide book, Zenith hotel could be read comfortably in one sitting by the slowest of readers. That's not to say it's a short story - it isn't. Neither is it a Novella. Zenith hotel is a novel, of tiny proportions which tells a unique story.

Zenith hotel is a gritty account of real life on the streets of Paris. There is no romantic talk of the river seine or the Eiffel tower, here we see the real Paris, from the eyes of prostitute Nanou and her many clients. Nanou does not want us to feel sorry for her, she is not ashamed of who she is, or what she does, she just wants to tell her story.

A story that evolves over the course of one day, Nanou's day. A normal day in the life of a street prostitute. Nanou's clients are sprinkled in to the story here and there, we don't get to hear what Nanou thinks of them, we see only their background, so that we can try and figure out how and why they end up with Nanou.

Nanou's clients all seem to have one thing in common with her - other than sex, and that is loneliness. Although they all have companionship in different ways, from wife's to dying pets, they are all lonely, including Nanou herself.

Is this why she does what she does? We don't know as this is never addressed.

It's clear that she needs the money, and that prostitution is all she has ever known. But how exactly did she end up there? It's a question you will find yourself wondering the answer to, long after you have finished the novel.

You can purchase Zenith hotel from Amazon online and all good book shops.

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Thank you to Arcadia for the advanced proof of this novel.
 
 

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