A curious novel set in FRANCE
Hard Bed Hotel
Era(s): Contemporary (post-dictatarship) Chile
Hard Bed Hotel is a humorous story that is told through the eyes of a lonely, devoted caretaker of Santiago de Chile’s General Cemetery, and those of a washed-up Latino rock star who takes up residence in the family mausoleum, after an earthquake has shaken up both their lives.
Astrid de las Nieves, of all people, should know better. How does she mistake the very much alive Johnny Pretty, for a ghost? Well, the story goes way back. Ghost or no ghost, Johnny Pretty is just what she’s always dreamed of… and more.
As for Johnny, well – he’s been singing for pennies at Slaughterhouse Square for years. After the quake renders him indigent and he sets up digs at the cemetery, he takes advantage of Astrid’s increasing infatuation, convincing her to leave food, cigarettes and more, in exchange for a few bars from old songs before he sneaks out to party with friends.
Perspective is skewed through the lens of desire, and happiness is a question of perspective. The thin line between the living and the dead is blurred and nothing is as it seems – rockstar is ghostly indigent, pickpocket is tourism executive, shop owner is purveyor of saints, con artist is plastic surgeon and meddling ghost is guardian angel.
Everything goes wrong but maybe it’s right, as heaven and earth settle into an unexpected juxtaposition in this twisted Latin tale that is doused with humor and magic realism.
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