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Grand Hotel Europa

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  11,204 ratings  ·  1,194 reviews
Pfeijffer diagnosticeert de tijdgeest in een kolossale roman met Europa als speelveld

‘De toekomst van Europa is het Europa dat nu al een realiteit is. Europa is het recreatiegebied voor de rest van de wereld,’ zegt een van de personages in Grand Hotel Europa. Het is – overdrachtelijk – ook een zelfdiagnose. Alle personages in deze roman zitten immers op verschillende manie
Hardcover, 552 pages
Published December 13th 2018 by Arbeiderspers
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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,204 ratings  ·  1,194 reviews

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"It must be grand, and lavish, an overwhelming orgy of fantasy with the technical perfection of commercial kitsch."
The burden of the past in Europe, the scourge of tourism, the future-oriented view of the migrant… these are the central themes of this novel. Anyone who has read La Superba, the novel with which Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer became famous, will immediately recognize his favourite themes again. In that celebrated novel the Italian city of Genoa was the framework ànd the main character of t
Because of the fact I am seriously in limbo how I should rate Grand Hotel Europa, I think it would be fair to postpone writing a review of this novel. I don’t want to be unfair to Ilja L. Pfeiffer. It is certainly very rare for me to have these conflicting feelings about a book which I both enjoyed and hated in equal measure.
Jul 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
Clichematig, pretentieus, and telling by telling (ipv telling by showing).
Apr 01, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a long novel, in which the narrator – given the same name as the author – retreats to the Grand Hotel Europa to ponder the possible ending of a relationship. The Grand Hotel Europa stands for Europe itself, the old continent, which has, in many ways, become a living museum for tourists. Meanwhile, of course, the world is changing and so the Grand Hotel Europa has new management, who happily remove paintings from the walls, or replace chandeliers, with something more modern. Mr Wang sees ...more
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Good book...well written....but the book is like a Chinese meal. Good when you eat it and once outside the restaurant you realize you are hungry.
Not a lot remains of the book.....a noodle soup kind of reading.
Dries Messely
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Tourism is bad, we get it. Should have been one hundred pages shorter.
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dutch-literature
Update 31 March 2022 - translation coming in June 2022.

I am very happy to see this is being translated into English. I found it a highly enjoyable, well-written, allegorical novel set mostly in Italy. It is about mass tourism, Europe as museum of the world, the past glory of European art and culture and the decline of Europe as a global power at the expense of Asia.

Did I learn a lot? Not really to be honest. Did I have fun reading? Yes, a lot!

Some reviewers have taken offense with the main ch
Vic Van
Jul 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was my introduction to ILPf and I must say that I am impressed. It is the perfect combination of a romantic tale and an essay on the devastating effects of mass tourism on local communities and economics, and on the general decline of Europe as a global player. It is filled with well-researched data, information, and insights on people and places, history and folklore...
The language and writing are outstanding.
What charmed me as well, is that ILPf does not shy away from exposing his own we
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fun
Intresting view on future, now and past in the light of innovation and change.
A story with multiple layers and great metaphores.
Dec 14, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german, contemporary, 2020
(read in german translation) interesting novel in which the protagonist, a writer with the same name as the author, checks into the „grand hotel europa“ to think about clio, with whom he had a relationship which failed. this grand hotel is maybe somewhere in italy, the unspecified location adding to the metaphore. it is a bit decrepit, full of original european guests and art, it has an umkempt rose garden and a non-functioning fountain, it has mr. montebello, the majordomus and soul of the hote ...more
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
6 stars!
There’s so much I could say about this fascinating book of essays, disguised as a novel, about contemporary Europe and globalization. Characters discussed a range of topics from mass tourism and its effects, to immigration, to Europe’s preoccupation with the past, all in the context of the protagonist recounting and reflecting on a bygone relationship. Another interesting aspect of the novel is how the lines of fact and fiction are blurred: the protagonist is the author himself, talking about th ...more
Mar 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Another great and beautifully written novel by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer. The novel deals with the ‘decay’ of Europe and makes the reader think about the position of Europe in the world. What is our future or do we only have our history?

The book contains many more storylines: an analogy of the European Union in Grand Hotel Europa, the search for a lost painting of Carravagio as well as reflections upon tourism, the refugee crisis, museums in Italy and the city of Venice.

A true pleasure to read.
Dec 14, 2020 marked it as dnf
Shelves: 2020
DNF for now...
A hotel as a metaphore for Europe?
Interessting, but do I care enough?
Sep 15, 2022 rated it it was amazing
My favorite book of the year so far. Pfeijffer's ambitious novel is a love story, a hunt for a missing classic of the art world, a meditation on the concept of truth and authenticity, an enactment of how the imposition of narrative creates reality, and a screed against tourism. The latter one hit home, as each time Pfeijffer's narrator or another character lambasted the hordes of visitors that overrun Venice, or Paris or any number of Instagram worthy European locations, I felt the arrow hit hom ...more
Simon Tudge
Jun 23, 2022 rated it really liked it
A novel that drips with metaphor, allusion and illusion, narrative and meta-narative; you can almost hear the authors smug satisfaction at his own cleverness. The symbolism is never subtle, the last chapter is about a funeral for a woman called Europa, and yet it is a joy to read.

Two negatives: the last 150 pages dragged a bit (it's 550 pages long), could have been slightly shorter. The sex scenes are gross and serve very little narrative purpose; the main character has the same name as the auth
Gorrit-Cor Lootsma
Jul 30, 2022 rated it really liked it
A love story, an ode to Europe, a warning about the dangers of mass tourism and so much more! This book took me on a journey and made me consider a lot of things in a different context. I loved the way it blended real life with fiction and the author's meta comments on these. It makes a book more engaging when you can't separate the two and have to consider every word he writes. I think it's a must read for anyone that is interested in Europe and its future in relation to its history. The only t ...more
Nelleke Bongers
Jul 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book has many different layers flowing from Mass tourism to an intricate romance to an art historic mission and eventually it all comes together in an metaphor for the future of Europe in the current climate.
Courtney (ProjectsHalfDone)
Apr 12, 2022 rated it did not like it
I suppose I should disclose my epistemological stance first. I am reviewing this book from an American/Western perspective. I also hold a millennial and feminist perspective, both of which shape my preferences for literature. I also have a PhD in education which further contributes to my reading interests. I feel that context is important for this review.

I want to appreciate the literary metaphors the author is creating between Europe and the Hotel Europa. I think the premise of this behemoth of
Sep 16, 2022 rated it liked it
lots of mixed feelings about this book

the good:
- the prose is beautiful. Normally I can get tired of long-winded descriptions and monologues but the ones dished out here were very eloquent and genuinely enjoyable to read through, even if I wasn't invested in the content; sometimes it's fun to read pretty writing for the sake of it being pretty
- love love the braided structure; good balance between the pre-hotel era and the current
- well-researched; I agree that it got pretentious at times (we ge
Diederik Van Epperzeel
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Darius Ostrowski
There are two stories along with a narrative to be found in “Grand Hotel Europa” by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer. One of the stories is fascinating in its portrayal of changing cultures, the other story is a somewhat interesting view of a relationship growing and falling apart. The narrative, however, keeps lecturing you in case you weren’t smart enough to pick up the point of the two stories.

The main story is about an author (with the same name as this author) checking into a grand European hotel to
May 02, 2022 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I want to thank Netgalley and FSG Books for sending me this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate it so much.

When I read the plot of this book I thought it was such a great premise. Sadly, Pfeijffer´s writing was not of my liking. It felt too cold and dry, maybe in synch with the book´s general tone? But it definitely felt like too much. The book´s lenght (too long!), the metaphors and the -plot- all of it, was a lot to process. Maybe 200 pages less would have worked better for m
Oct 03, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021
I don't understand how this book can average >4 stars, and overall positive reviews. The theme about Europe and it turning into an open-air museum is interesting, and the reason why I started the book. Also, there are interesting thoughts /notions here and there but the characters and their dialogues are so clumsy and embarrassing that they almost ruin the book. Maybe it works better in the original language and the Finnish translation did no justice to the original text. I'm genuinely puzzled! ...more
Larry Olson
Grand Hotel Europa: A Novel by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer

Pfeijffer sees Europe as a vast old museum with a past and no future. The great European capitals emptying out in favor of airbnbs for tourists symbolized by a grand old hotel purchased by Chinese investors, stripped of authenticity and refurbished to look old. The novel is also the setting for a love story, an art heist, a travel guide and pages upon pages of political commentary. Throw in some history of Caravaggio’s last days and a mysterio
Jun 05, 2022 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
Honestly, the author tries to cover too many topics and I think that do not work. I liked love story and search for last Caravaggio painting and his story. However the parts and author's thoughts on tourism and aging Europe, felt irrelevant and made the book just long for sake of being long. ...more
May 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
I found it a tough read. Long, drawn-out descriptions and sentences. Lots of history, which was interesting. I found the ending very disappointing and it changed my whole opinion of the writer and the book.
Diane van Steekelenburg
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
It’s a long read although it’s worth the hours I spent on it. It’s an interesting story about Europe, tourism and love. I must admit that some parts are a bit repetitive and the character Ilja in the book did irritate me sometimes but on the whole it’s a good book.
Sonja van der Westhuizen | West Words
After the failure of his relationship, Ilja, a writer, takes up residence in the Grand Hotel Europa. This grand dame used to be a glamorous venue, but her bright sheen has faded, and all that's left is a glint of desperation. Fortunately, the hotel’s permanent residents are a group of interesting characters and Ilja’s conversations with Abdul, the bell-hop, a Greek philosopher and an elusive poet provide ample distraction.

But this isn’t only the story of a fading relationship and a fading hotel,
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great and actual topic excellent written. Should be added to the must read list of the highschool curriculum these days. Perfect to open discussions about the impact of tourism. Forces Europeans to reflect on their continent and its privileges from a non European point of view.
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Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer is a poet and writer. Distinguished in nearly every genre imaginable, he is one of the most celebrated authors of the Dutch language and is recognized as one of the most compelling voices in contemporary Dutch literature. He has more than forty titles to his name, including poetry, novels, short stories, plays, essays, scientific studies, columns, translations and anthologie ...more

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