9 September 2020

Various: Une nuit à l'hôtel (2019)

This is a collection of eleven short stories, all written by prominent authors, and all having a night in a hotel as the theme. We need books like this, which give us not only an idea of what authorial talent is around, but also perhaps a hint of who we'd like to read more of, or not at all. I particularly appreciated the stories by Cécile Coulon, Nina Bouraoui, Adeline Dieudonné, Franck Bouysse and Négar Djavani.

The stories:

Cécile Coulon, 'Madame Andrée' –  A woman goes to a hotel to have a lesson on playing the flute from her former teacher, although everything is in her mind.

Serge Joncour, 'Une nuit, presque à l'hôtel'  – A man sleeps in a deckchair by the hotel swimming pool because, well, he can't stand duvets: he's an eiderdown salesman.

Nina Bouraoui, 'Une nuit à Timinoun– A woman with homosexual sympathies admires a young female guest in a hotel after fleeing from her husband, children, and the asphyxiating normality.

Silvain Prudhomme, 'La Femme au couteau– A guy remembers his university back-backing days, particularly staying in a bug-ridden hotel and being greeted by a woman with a knife.

Adeline Dieudonné, 'Alika– The hell of a child minder from the Philippines come to France to what amounts to slavery.

Franck Bouysse, 'Ma Lumière– A clever young boy lives in hotels with his mother who perhaps works as a cleaner, but also as a prostitute.

Négar Djavani, 'Le Dernier– After twenty-two years a cop tracks down a serial killer who has set up a new life in Buenos Aires.

Caryl Férey, 'Juste pour un jour– The punk era by the Berlin wall, the title of course being a translation from David Bowie's 'Heroes'.

Ingrid Astier, 'Fil de soie– A man, dumped by his girlfriend, arrives at a hotel where there's a 'telepathic' barman.

Régis Jauffret, '¡Alzheimer! ¡Que buéno! Y Macrón! ¡También!'  – An insane rant from a hotel (or psychiatric hospital?) in which virtually every sentence ends in an exclamation mark!

Valérie Zénatti, 'Le Miroir de Cirta– A young French woman traces her mother's and her grandmother's Algeria, before they were forced to emigrate to France.

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