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In a Hotel Garden

Gabriel Josipovici

In A Hotel Garden by Gabriel Josipovici
RRP: GBP 12.95
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 847774 53 8
Categories: 20th Century, British, Jewish
Imprint: Carcanet Fiction
Published: February 1993
216 x 135 x 8 mm
144 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Hardback
  • Description
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  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • I told you, she says. That doesn't matter. It was sitting there and feeling the place and feeling how it must have been all those years ago and feeling time sort of standing still before starting to flow again.
    In a Hotel Garden is the strangest and most enigmatic of Gabriel Josipovici's many strange and enigmatic novels. On the surface it is a simple story of the growing obsession of a young Englishman for a Jewish woman he meets on holiday. Gradually it reveals itself as an exploration of the power of memory and imagination, also raising the question of how far it is possible for non-Jews to understand Jews, however intrigued by them they may be. In a haunting play of echoes the novel presents us not with one hotel garden but two, embedded respectively in the stony landscape of Tuscany and also the forested mountains of Alto Adige; not one story of erotic obsession but two, one played out in Italy in the 1920s, the other in present-day London- as though, while the characters search desperately for singularity, the world provides them only with doubles. Behind the story looms the destruction of the Jews of Europe: can we ever come to terms with this in ways which are not sentimental or false? 

    Here what has been implicit in Josipovici 's earliest fiction becomes explicit; the writing takes on a new dimension, most notably in the description of the great walk over the mountain in the Dolimites which forms the mysterious centre of this remarkable book. 


    Josipovici is able to relate ordinary human concerns to some of the most important intellectual issues of the twentieth century. There are few writers in England of whom this could be said Times Literary Supplement
    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
    Awards won by Gabriel Josipovici Long-listed, 2019 The Republic of Consciousness Prize (The Cemetery in Barnes) Short-listed, 2018 The Goldsmiths Prize (The Cemetery in Barnes)
    Praise for Gabriel Josipovici 'Art demans a certain silence, when creating it and viewing it. Josipovici captures the essence of this silence in both the art and the artist himself in this deceptively complex narrative which he subtitles, "A Triptych after Pierre Bonnard"'

    Melissa Beck, The Book Binder's Daughter


    A 'subtle, disconcerting and remarkable novel'
    Volume, 2019

    'the novel shows its characters overwhelmed by the temporal medium in which everything takes place, and the characters are depicted not so much against light (contre-jour) as against time (contre-temps)... time is always the overwhelming, unresolvable problem.'

    Volume, 2019
    'The narrative is constantly destabilised, leaving us puzzling over what is and isn't 'true'... his debts to writers like Thomas Bernhard, Marguerite Duras and Alain Robbe-Grillet are obvious.'
    Simon Collings, Stride
    'Gabriel Josipovici is one of the outstanding writers and critics of the post-war period.'
    David Herman, The Jewish Chronicle
    'Josipovici's best fiction has always been able to turn silence and reticence into powerful emotions, producing stories of pain and sadness. Contre-Jour is Josipovici at his very best.'
    David Herman, The Jewish Chronicle
      'The Cemetery in Barnes, though outwardly modest, expands in the mind and then lingers there - a tribute to its author's rejection of the need to explain, his willingness to hint at all the ways in which life is a "labyrinth" without trying to say the last word about any of them.'
    Leo Robson, The New Statesman
    'The Cemetery in Barnes is a subtle, disturbing meditation on death and desire, on murder, suicide and arson glimpsed, as it were, out of the corner of the eye; an examination of a life lived in three locations and told - the cue being taken from Monteverdi's Orfeo - in three interweaving voices, whose total effect has the disturbing power of a bad dream.'
    Nick Lezard, Goldsmiths Prize Judge
    'A seriously amusing, at times amusingly serious novella... its artfulness partly lies in its temporary suspension of certainty' 
    Michael Caines, TLS
     '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 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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