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"Hotel Inspire" by Douglas Warren

Posted by Margaret Walker on Thursday, April 23, 2020 Under: Book Reviews


Henry Harris is about to be awakened.  He has passed his entire twenty-nine years in his parents’ comfortable apartment in Manhattan, devoid of relationships, other than with books.  But his passion for creating poetry proves his salvation, when he bravely decides to leave his front door for the first time in his life, to attend a summer writers’ retreat at the Hôtel Inspiré, a guesthouse in the south of France, in a mountain village devoid of infrastructure.

As a special education teacher, I initially thought that Henry was autistic, for he grew up entirely content within his own world, the single thing lacking being an anxiety attack when his circumstances changed.  I was wrong.  Whatever Henry’s diagnosis might have been, he begins the novel quite oddly, having made the decision to launch his life in a new direction, he proves observant and adaptable.  This holds him in good stead as he adjusts to the company of the hotel’s other guests and their Bohemian habits.

Henry is a sympathetic figure.  He is neither critical nor judgemental. Though often hurt himself, he never hurts others.  At an unusually late age he suffers the poignancy of first love, and finally learns empathy. Because of this, and due to the objective writing style, I often felt that I was being told too much about Henry’s agonies when I would have preferred to imagine the torture myself, from what the author has shown me.  

I enjoyed Hôtel Inspiré.  It is an original conception and very good-natured.  I found that I was curious to learn more of the ideas that inspired the author to create it and, as Henry’s world opens up, I genuinely wanted him to be happy.  If an author can inspire these desires in his readers, then he has achieved a great deal.


In : Book Reviews 


Tags: douglas-warren  fiction  drama 
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MARGARET WALKER
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One novel, His Most Italian City, published by Penmore Press and half a dozen published short stories.
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