THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s moving and addictive masterpiece of European identity, nostalgia and the end of an era.
‘A masterpiece: grandiose style, brilliant and rich. It will defy the ages’ Trouw (The Netherlands)
‘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.
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer (b. 1968), a classicist by training, made his literary debut with a poetry collection in 1999 that was an homage to the experimental poetry of his great models, Pindar and Lucebert. In the years that followed, in addition to poetry, he has written stage plays, essays, columns, travel accounts, stories, political satires, and four novels written in the spirit of Rabelais. His most recent poetry collection, Idyllen, published in 2015, became the first single work of poetry to ever win in the grand slam of the three major Dutch poetry awards—the VSB, Jan Campert, and Awater.
”'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 (The Netherlands)
”'A masterpiece: grandiose style, brilliant and rich. It will defy the ages” - Trouw (The Netherlands)
”'Grand Hotel Europa is not only an overwhelming reading experience, but Pfeijffer also gives you lots of food for thought. Who else in contemporary Dutch literature could do what he does, to turn up the heat on our zeitgeist in such a great way and to thumb the nose at all those timid, tiny novels full of first world problems?” - De Morgen (Belgium)
”'A pageturner. The most admirable thing about the novel is Pfeijffer’s fascination with these subjects, his involvement. […] Grand Hotel Europa is not only an reflection on our identity, but also a contribution to its continuation” - de Volkskrant (The Netherlands)
”'A lively, clever and sometimes malicious book. […] Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer conceived his Grand Hotel Europa not only as a homage to the aged, mythically charged continent, but also as a stage and forum for debate for the contradictions and upheavals of our time. […] The pleasure of reading it all for yourself, right up to the amazing end, shouldn’t be taken away from you anyway” - Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany)
”'The new Magic Mountain is perhaps called Grand Hotel Europa” - Neue Ruhr Zeitung (Germany)
”'A powerful and intriguing novel that one doesn’t forget easily” - La Stampa (Italy)
”'A great novel, brilliantly told and absolutely worth reading” - Ruhr Nachrichten (Germany)