Translated from the original Dutch by Michele Hutchison
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.
About the Author/Translator:
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.
Michele Hutchison is a literary translator from Dutch and French into English and a former commissioning editor at various publishing houses. She was educated at UEA, Cambridge and Lyon universities. She has translated more than forty-five books from Dutch. She received the Vondel Translation Prize 2020 for Stage Four, her translation of Sander Kollaard’s Stadium IV. In 2020 The Discomfort of Evening, her translation of Marieke Lucas Rijneveld’s debut novel was awarded the International Booker Prize. Hutchison is also co-author of The Happiest Kids in the World: What We Can Learn from Dutch Parents.
Nominating Library’s Comments:
It is a monumental novel about loss, the immigration crisis, the history and future of Europe, Mass tourism and many more themes. A phenomenal read which lets you think about modern day Europe. – De Bibliotheek Utrecht, The Netherlands