Hotel Life

La vida de hotel

The protagonist and narrator of this story is a newspaper hotel critic. At the beginning of the novel he is sent to review a recently renovated hotel called The Imperial. At the reception they mistakenly give him the wrong key to the next door room. When he opens the door, he comes upon a strange sight. A girl is sitting on a bed. In front of her, a boy is trying to get an erection. Then he hears the sound of a third person: a man who comes in the room and closes the door without noticing what is going on. From that moment onwards, he becomes obsessed with what he has seen, without ever understanding what really happened. Once his spying is discovered, the woman comes to his room and explains what is going on: she has set up an online amateur porno business, consisting of erotic films shot in hotels using people taken from the streets. The webpage is called Vida de hotel, a curious coincidence as his column shares the same name. Once the narrator enters the site he soon becomes obsessed with the stories he finds there.

«A subtle, intelligent and liberated prose, measured in shifting tones, that will be a joy to any intelligent reader … A majestic irony… The reader will enjoy a book as intelligent as it is well written» (J. M. Pozuelo Yvancos, ABC).

«A rich stylistic exercise, full of expressive resources, especially a peculiar exploration of meta-literary forms: the novelist writes what the critic describes... A literary product full of original and innovative stylistic masterstrokes» (Nicolás Miñambres, Diario de León).

«The story strikes a balance between the contemplation of a solitary soul, rootless, and his plan of action, disquieting for its lack of definition and full of elements of suspense that give the story a conclusion full of great skill and overflowing with a worrying ambiguity that  motivates the whole book» (Iñigo Urrutia, El Diario Vasco).

«In his third novel, in which he joins the estimable stable of Anagrama authors, Javier Montes turns the world into an experiment, or at least the part of the Western world in which many of the readers of La vida de hotel inhabit… The reader is trapped from the first page, closely following the detailed descriptions of objects, spaces and customs that populate the text in order to enjoy it to the full» (Mercedes Cebrián, Numerocero).


Javier Montes

Javier Montes (Madrid, 1976) won the Premio José María de Pereda with his first novel, Los penúltimos, which was followed by his next novel, Segunda parte. Along with Andrés Barba he won the Premio Anagrama de Ensayo for La ceremonia del porno. He also collaborated in the publication of  After Henry James. In 2010, Granta included him among their selection of the best young authors writing in the Spanish language and his stories have appeared in collections like Puros cuentos (Letras Libres, 2008) and Life in Cities. An Anthology of European Contemporary Writers (Minumsa, Seoul, 2009). He regularly contributes to the publications ABC, El País, Letras Libres, Revista de Libros, Granta UK, Revista de Occidente, Letra Internacional and Arquitectura Viva. He has curated exhibitions like Beckett Films (CAAC, 2011) and was a professor of Art History at the Spanish College in Malabo (Equatorial Guinea). His novels have received excellent reviews: «Montes evokes a grandiose world, where he comments on the Statism of life beyond apparent change» (Michael Kerrigan, Times Literary Supplement).

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