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Hotel Andromeda

Gabriel Josipovici

Cover of Gabriel Josipovici's Hotel Andromeda
RRP: GBP£ 12.95
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Price: GBP£ 11.65
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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 847772 63 3
Categories: 21st Century, British, Jewish
Imprint: Carcanet Fiction
Published: June 2014
216 x 132 x 13 mm
144 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), eBook (EPUB)
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  • One finishes it wanting to pack one’s bags and catch the next mail coach to the Hotel Andromeda.
    John Ashbery

    Sometimes I’m tempted to throw away all I’ve written so far and start again, write quite a different kind of book, in the first person perhaps. Or write it in the third person but like a novel, with more freedom to go where a critical study could not go. Only then, I think, will I be able to get as close to Joseph Cornell as I feel I need to...

    In a house in a quiet street in North London, Helena struggles with her self-appointed task of writing a book about the reclusive American artist Joseph Cornell. At the same time she dreams and thinks about her sister Alice, working in an orphanage in Chechnya. She is certain that Alice despises her for living a life of comfort and privilege, far away from the horrors of war; yet she knows too that her work is more than self-indulgence. How to reconcile these two visions?

    Enter Ed, a Czech journalist and photographer who claims he has been working in Chechnya and brings news of Alice, along with the request for a bed for the few days he has to be in London…

    Gabriel Josipovici’s sparkling new novel charts the course of those few days, as Joseph Cornell’s mysterious life and the strange boxes he constructed wage a silent struggle in Helena’s mind and spirit with the imperatives of the present.

    Hotel Andromeda takes its title from a work by the eccentric American artist Joseph Cornell, whose glass-lidded wooden boxes filled with odd detritus frequently bear the names of provincial nineteenth-century European hotels. Helena, a young writer, is obsessed with Cornell’s work. Its sense of loss frequently echoes that in her own life, especially with regard to her uncommunicative sister, who lives in Chechnya. For Helena, the horrors of war in that strife-plagued country are somehow dimly echoed in Cornell’s moonstruck artefacts. By the end, Cornell has somehow taught her to recreate him ‘with all his maddening foibles, but also his quality as a visionary, an ambiguous visionary, the only kind tolerable in our modern world’. Gabriel Josipovici transforms Helena’s quest into a full-fledged drama, replete with romance and surprises. One finishes it wanting to pack one’s bags and catch the next mail coach to the Hotel Andromeda. - John Ashbery

    Gabriel Josipovici’s most recent novel, Hotel Andromeda, offers a wonderful entry-point into the collage-boxes of Joseph Cornell. Evoking the specific ‘atmosphere’ of this most reclusive and elusive of twentieth-century culture-heroes, he sidesteps any critical closure, in an exploration always open to ethical and aesthetic uncertainty. A young woman, an art-historian in contemporary London, struggles to maintain her belief in art’s value ,in the face of catastrophe elsewhere; out of this tension, Josipovici creates a marvellous tragi-comic ‘box’, within which Cornell’s own poetic vision emerges – both light and profound. - Timothy Hyman, RA
    Gabriel Josipovici was born in Nice in 1940 of Russo-Italian, Romano-Levantine parents. He lived in Egypt from 1945 to 1956, when he came to Britain. He read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, graduating with a First in 1961. From 1963 to 1998 he taught at the University of Sussex. He ... read more
    Praise for Gabriel Josipovici  'Concealed in this wry interview is an exhilarating "world tour" of music, and how it comes to be created. Music aficionados will recognise Infinity's central figure with delight; newcomers will learn all they need, and more, about an extraordinary composer, and the anguished musical era - the twentieth century - in which he lived and worked.'
    Judith Weir
     'Gabriel Josipovici is a deeply perceptive critic, always rewarding with a wide range of reference. The Singer on the Shore is a beautifully written and enjoyable book.'
    Dame Muriel Spark
     'A tour de force of straightfaced high-culture lunacy ... very funny, deeply serious, at once scathing about the sublime preposterousness of modernism and profoundly admiring of it. Infinity is that rare thing - a novel about a creative genius in whose artistry you are made to believe, and who, for all his monstrous egoism and crackpot theorising, you come to care about and finally applaud.'
    Howard Jacobson
     'A Doctor Faustus for our time. Like Thomas Mann's great novel, Infinity shows how a composer's times are reflected in the creative process of composing, and has the novel's structure itself parallel the composer's aesthetic. Books as insightful as these into the composer's world are rare indeed.'
    Jonathan Harvey
    'Josipovici is one of the UK's most distinguished and fearless writers... [Infinity] is a charming, sexy, modern and scholarly novel - an unusual mix but all the better for it.'
    Deborah Levy, Jewish Quarterly
    'Gabriel Josipovici's Infinity (Carcanet, £12.95) is a wondrous Mobius strip of a narrative that turns ideas of biography, memory and the making of art into a story that one reads with rapt attention, in one sitting.'
    Kirsty Gunn, Scotsman Books of the Year 2012
     'Gabriel Josipovici is a deeply perceptive critic, always rewarding with a wide range of reference. The Singer on the Shore is a beautifully written and enjoyable book.'
    Dame Muriel Spark
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