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Hotel Crystal
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"Olivier Rolin once again made the bet of a radical invention. And he filled his contract. Superbly." -- Jean-Claude Lebrune "Rolin's mastery of language, along with his rich perceptions of locale and the human psyche, rewards a reader willing to attend." -- Lee Fahnstock "Olivier Rolin is a towering figure in French literature.... Rolin is a consummate artist who will speak profoundly to the American heart." -- Robert Olen Butler Visions of Italo Calvino's seminal postmodernist romp Invisible Cities arise as the reader enters the cleverly fabricated world of this novel, originally published in French in 2004, from Rolin. The book's modus operandi is explained in a mock-editorial foreword declaring that 'each [chapter] describes a hotel room in minute detail . . . then goes on to relate an anecdote involving the author and this particular location.' Thus protagonist and narrator 'Olivier Rolin' trots around the globe fulfilling miscellaneous diplomatic and criminal missions, indulging varied sophisticated tastes, including gratifying dalliances with often exotic, occasionally dangerous women. One of the most enjoyable 'serious' novels in many seasons. Olivier Rolin once again made the bet of a radical invention. And he filled his contract. Superbly. Rolin's mastery of language, along with his rich perceptions of locale and the human psyche, rewards a reader willing to attend. In this witty puzzler of a novel by Olivier Rolin (translated by Jane Kuntz), a traveler with the same name as the author begins each chapter with a description of a different hotel room he's stayed in around the world. These, in turn, become occasions for Rolin (or 'Rolin'?) to tell us of his adventures as a globe-trotting amateur spy and dashing lover. Frenchman Rolin engages in literary game-playing in Hotel Crystal, crossing influences such as Vladimir Nabokov and Georges Perec.

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