In a Hotel Garden

In a Hotel Garden

Hardback

By (author) Gabriel Josipovici

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  • Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 144 pages
  • Dimensions: 145mm x 223mm x 15mm | 312g
  • Publication date: 25 February 1993
  • Publication City/Country: Manchester
  • ISBN 10: 085635998X
  • ISBN 13: 9780856359989
  • Sales rank: 1,341,543

Product description

"In a Hotel Garden" is the strangest and most enigmatic of Gabriel Josipovici's many strange, enigmatic novels. On the surface it is a simple story of the growing obsession young Englishman with a Jewish woman he meets on holiday. Gradually it reveals itself as an exploration of power of memory and imagination, also raising vividly the question of how far it is possible for non-Jews to understand Jews, however intrigued by them they may be. In a haunting play of echoes the novel presents us not with hotel garden but two, embedded respectively in the stony landscape of Tuscany and in the forested mountains of Alto Adige; not one story of erotic obsession but two, played out in Italy in the 1920s, the other in present-day London. A great walk over a mountain in the Dolomites forms the mysterious centre of this book. Behind the story looms our dilemma of coming to terms with the destruction of European Jews.

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Author information

Gabriel Josipovici was born in Nice in 1940 of Russo-Italian, Romano-Levantine parents. He lived in Egypt from 1945 to 1956, when he came to Britain. He read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, graduating with a First in 1961. From 1963 to 1998 he taught at the University of Sussex. He is the author of sixteen novels, three volumes of short stories, eight critical works, and numerous stage and radio plays, and is a regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement. His plays have been performed throughout Britain and on radio in Britain, France and Germany, and his work has been translated into the major European languages and Arabic. In 2001 he published A Life, a biographical memoir of his mother, the translator and poet Sacha Rabinovitch (London Magazine editions). His most recent works are Two Novels: 'After' and 'Making Mistakes' (Carcanet), What Ever Happened to Modernism? (Yale University Press) and Heart's Wings (Carcanet, 2010) Carcanet publish his novels and fictions Contre-Jour (1986), In the Fertile Land (1987), Steps (1990), The Big Glass (1991), In a Hotel Garden (1993) and Moo Pak (1995) and his essays Text and Voice (1993). His most recent novels are Goldberg: Variations (Carcanet, 2001) and Only Joking (Zweitausendeins, Germany, 2005). In 2006 Carcanet published a collection of his essays, The Singer on the Shore and his novel Everything Passes. Visit www.gabrieljosipovici.org for further information.

Editorial reviews

Published widely in England though less known here, Josipovici (Contre-Jour, 1986) offers a fine little book that's imitative but often lovely indeed. Vacationing in Italy with his rather disagreeable girlfriend, a young Englishman meets a second woman, also vacationing, who's much more interesting than the first. Falling into conversation one day after the next - and even going on a day's hike with her - he bit by bit, with a measured gradualness worthy of Henry James, elicits the woman's story from her. It's a story, too, with the aura and subtlety of James: the woman's grandmother once, in the garden of a hotel in Siena, spent a day talking passionately with an unmarried young man whom she never saw again and whose entire family was later destroyed by the Nazis; the woman herself, years afterward, visits Siena for the purpose simply of finding and seeing that garden. Even after the story (that's all there is to it) is out in the open, its meaning may not be; meeting again with the woman back in England, the young Englishman still isn't sure what either the woman or the story means ("What's meaningful?" she asks him at one point, in a perfect, hyper-Jamesian touch). Talking about it with friends (Rick and Francesca, a married couple) over dinner doesn't help much, and at story's end, as at its framed beginning, neither the young man nor the reader knows whether he'll call the woman again, whether he'll see her, or whether she wants him to. Familiar themes; Katherine Mansfield-esqe lucidities of domestic detail; dialogue and tone often of purest Hemingway ("I am trying, she said. It isn't easy. He was silent. I have to get ready for lunch, she said. Yes, he said"): it all adds up, in the skillful Josipovici's hands, to a brief, indisputably charming, single-evening's pleasure. (Kirkus Reviews)