HOTEL ADROMEDA by Gabriel Josipovici

Hotel Andromeda—Cover.jpg
Hotel Andromeda—Cover.jpg

HOTEL ADROMEDA by Gabriel Josipovici


152 Pages

Publisher: Carcanet Fiction
Purchase includes: EPUB, MOBI & PDF

Read reviews on Amazon & Goodreads

Sometimes I’m tempted to throw away all I’ve written so far and start again, write quite a different kind of book, in the first person perhaps. Or write it in the third person but like a novel, with more freedom to go where a critical study could not go. Only then, I think, will I be able to get as close to Joseph Cornell as I feel I need to...

In a house in a quiet street in North London, Helena struggles with her self-appointed task of writing a book about the reclusive American artist Joseph Cornell. At the same time she dreams and thinks about her sister Alice, working in an orphanage in Chechnya. She is certain that Alice despises her for living a life of comfort and privilege, far away from the horrors of war; yet she knows too that her work is more than self-indulgence. How to reconcile these two visions?

Enter Ed, a Czech journalist and photographer who claims he has been working in Chechnya and brings news of Alice, along with the request for a bed for the few days he has to be in London…

Gabriel Josipovici’s sparkling new novel charts the course of those few days, as Joseph Cornell’s mysterious life and the strange boxes he constructed wage a silent struggle in Helena’s mind and spirit with the imperatives of the present.

Hotel Andromeda takes its title from a work by the eccentric American artist Joseph Cornell, whose glass-lidded wooden boxes filled with odd detritus frequently bear the names of provincial nineteenth-century European hotels. Helena, a young writer, is obsessed with Cornell’s work. Its sense of loss frequently echoes that in her own life, especially with regard to her uncommunicative sister, who lives in Chechnya. For Helena, the horrors of war in that strife-plagued country are somehow dimly echoed in Cornell’s moonstruck artefacts. By the end, Cornell has somehow taught her to recreate him ‘with all his maddening foibles, but also his quality as a visionary, an ambiguous visionary, the only kind tolerable in our modern world’. Gabriel Josipovici transforms Helena’s quest into a full-fledged drama, replete with romance and surprises. One finishes it wanting to pack one’s bags and catch the next mail coach to the Hotel Andromeda. — John Ashbery

Gabriel Josipovici’s most recent novel, Hotel Andromeda, offers a wonderful entry-point into the collage-boxes of Joseph Cornell. Evoking the specific ‘atmosphere’ of this most reclusive and elusive of twentieth-century culture-heroes, he sidesteps any critical closure, in an exploration always open to ethical and aesthetic uncertainty. A young woman, an art-historian in contemporary London, struggles to maintain her belief in art’s value ,in the face of catastrophe elsewhere; out of this tension, Josipovici creates a marvellous tragi-comic ‘box’, within which Cornell’s own poetic vision emerges – both light and profound. - Timothy Hyman, RA

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