I read this because I was curious to see what all the hype was about. My overwhelming thought was - the plot and the characters were reduced to a kind of architecture around which Ilja Pfeijffer hangs observations about Europe. However, even with some unconvincing dialogue, the ideas and perspectives were truly compelling. There was enough social and political content to keep me engaged, and it was a nice change to read a contemporary European story. I kept thinking of Monty Python, "and now for something completely different"!
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s bestseller is a moving and addictive masterpiece of European identity, nostalgia and the end of an era. 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, globalization 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.
‘A masterpiece: grandiose style, brilliant and rich. It will defy the ages’. Trouw (The Netherlands)