Zenith Hotel by Oscar Coop-Phane



A review copy was provided by Arcadia Books in return for an honest review

As a reader, when I see that a novel is based around prostitution I expect a harrowing story full of abuse and neglect. Zenith hotel is about as far from this description as you can get. It's a gritty and moving account of a day in the life of Nanou, a street prostitute. not a call girl or anything like that. Just a common streetwalker with high heels and menthol cigarettes.

She awakes everyday to the after-taste of other people's filth in her run down hotel room.

As she says, there will be no armchair psychology here. All we get is her day, plain and simple. This one day is told through her various clients. Each has there own story to tell and each become part of Nanou's story when they choose to pay her a visit. Each seem to be lacking something their lives. Mostly respect and control. This why they seek her out. She doesn't mind the fact the probably despise her. It makes them feel more civilised.. She gives them nothing but the reflection of their own misery.

In her free time Nanou writes. She doesn't really know why she does this. She refuses to see it as any type of therapy. It's just a way to keep her hands occupied. What she really seems to be doing is releasing a feeling of loathing. It's easier to hate.

What is really fascinating is that although Nanou doesn't like her life, she doesn't want anyone elses either. She finds their mundane every day jobs just as sickening as her own. She will label herself a prostitute for all eternity.

Zenith Hotel is pure poetry. It's a one sitting read that manages to fit more emotion into 105 pages than most novels do in 500 pages. 


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