Title: Zenith Hotel
Author: Oscar Coop-Phane
The lives of several Parisians are linked together through the use of local prostitute, Nanou.
I really wanted to like this story. I had read so many great reviews about it. It was dark, gritty and was set in Paris. And ok, having had a lifelong love affair with France’s capital, I was willing to see it in a less than glamorous way. However, I didn’t get any of that. The setting could have been anywhere. There was no seedy underbelly of the specific location. The Arrondissements just merged into one.
The story itself thinly hangs together by the encounters with the prostitute Nanou. I think the main problem that I had with the text is my original problem with short stories; they feel underdeveloped. This is especially the case with Zenith Hotel. If Coop-Phane had just stuck with the protagonist and one punter then maybe the story would have felt a bit more developed.
I understand that the technique of having a few bit characters emphasises the lonely life of prostitution and the isolation that Nanou feels on a aily basis. I just don’t think it necessarily worked as a short story.
Furthermore, I don’t think that we, as readers, were able to empathise with Nanou. She is very one dimensional and the further into the story we got, the less we seemed to know about her. She didn’t develop. The story didn’t develop and neither did my liking of Zenith Hotel.
I was very disappointed.
Zenith Hotel by Oscar Coop-Phane is available now.