The Colonial Hotel

Jonathan Bennett. ECW Press (Legato Publishers Group, U.S. dist.; Canadian Manda Group/Jaguar, Canadian dist.), $22.95 (218p) ISBN 978-1-77041-178-4
In Bennett's (Entitlement) third novel, humanitarian volunteers in an unnamed nation on the brink of civil war, Paris and Helen are lovers. When war comes, pregnant Helen is able to escape; the unfortunate Paris is captured and imprisoned by the Colonel, who appears to view the white doctor as a pet as well as a valuable hostage or physician. Paris is dragged across a nation torn by war towards a fate as uncertain as it seems likely to be unpleasant, but even in a land bent on self-destruction the possibility of unexpected love exists. The author may be aiming at universal themes, but the decision to leave the setting unidentified is problematic. The work appears to be the platonic ideal of colonialist westerners writing about far off lands. The inhabitants of this unnamed country are dark-skinned; independence and freedom from Europeans has brought only decline and calamity, the factions are given iconic, uninformative names, and if there are reasons for the conflict, the reader will never learn them. Although the author has borrowed names from the Iliad, this is not a classic that will withstand the millennia as blind Homer's work has; it borders on accidental parody. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/21/2014
Release date: 05/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-77090-519-1
Paperback - 204 pages - 978-1-4596-9317-3
Open Ebook - 978-1-322-37486-4
Open Ebook - 89 pages - 978-1-77090-518-4
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