Hotel Plenti

Miles Gibson, Author HarperCollins Publishers $17.95 (263p) ISBN 978-0-06-039086-0
From its first sentence``Hazel Pope was 12 years old when she first bared her buttocks for biscuits''this novel offers a bubbling froth of delightful images. Gilbert and Olive, two oddballs who run the Hercules Cafe in a factory district of London, find a newborn baby left under a table. They raise Frank as their own, and he is no less peculiar, with an imaginary friend named Mr. Artichoke who keeps him company. Frank grows up to be a remarkably normal youth who has absorbed Gilbert's fascination for cooking and eating. A punk waitress named Veronica joins the crew, and after Olive dies unexpectedly, Gilbert persuades Frank and Veronica to join him in an adventure that fulfills his dream of reuniting with an old crony, Sam Pilchard. Sam runs a hotel in remote Bilharzia, a village deep in West Africa. The unlikely trio survives their perilous journey to Bilharzia, where they discover that Sam has lied in his letters: the hotel has plenty of nothingit is a rotting, dank mess. Further adventures and a new troupe of outrageous characters await the reader. Unfortunately, it is at this point that the book begins to go nowhere. Momentum lost, the story sputters to an inconclusive and unsatisfying end. The disappointment here is great, because Gibson (Dancing with Mermaids) is such a good writer and this is almost a brilliant book. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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