Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"The Pink Hotel"

Anna Stothard studied English at Oxford and then moved to Los Angeles, where she was awarded a screenwriting scholarship with the masters program at the American Film Institute. Her first novel, Isabel and Rocco, was published in 2004.

Stothard applied the Page 69 Test to her second novel, The Pink Hotel, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize, and reported the following:
In The Pink Hotel a nameless seventeen-year-old girl attends her estranged mother’s raucous, drug-fuelled wake at a hotel on Venice Beach. Most of the novel is set in Los Angeles as the daughter returns her mother’s love letters to the men who knew Lily, but parts of the story flash back to the girl’s childhood in North London – like page 69.

She grew up with her father and grandparents in an apartment above a chip shop, playing football and getting into fights. It’s an emotionally drained childhood, where nobody touches each other or connects, in contrast to the decadent and sensual world she finds at the Pink Hotel.

Page 69 is actually quite sad – her grandfather dies of a stroke. The air in the room congeals slightly when he slips away and my narrator wonders if the death even matters, since he’d been ill and “not-himself” for so long. The protagonist is interested in identity, throughout the novel, so she debates when exactly her grandfather’s identity ceased. He has one lazy eye, which is looking at her when he stops breathing, the other is looking at the narrator’s father.

Most of the novel isn’t as somber as page 69!
Learn more about the book and author at Anna Stothard's website.

--Marshal Zeringue