“Hotel Metropole” is set in Lisbon in the context of the cultural cold war, it is the latest work of fiction of prolific writer Sebastià Bennasar.
Born in Palma, Mallorca in 1976, this novelist, essayist, poet and journalist also runs the Tiana Negra festival and Pagès Editors Lo Marraco Negre collection. His latest book was published by Columna in Catalan and Milenio in Spanish, and translated by Bennasar himself.
The novel has all the hallmarks of old-school spy fiction: Manuel Servera, a young Mallorcan who has been living in Lisbon for some time, is unable to fly to Palma due to overbooking on New Year’s Eve 1989 (the year of the fall of the Berlin wall). At dinner in the Metropole he meets Katharina Fürst, a Jewish woman who had spent New Year’s Eve at the same hotel in 1942. From here on, we jump back and forth across time through tales of spies, assassinations, boat trips to the US and publishing houses in Lisbon and Barcelona.
Lisbon, world war two espionage, and publishing in the cultural cold war are the three axes of Hotel Metropole. Moreover the novel contains typical Bennasar traits like the use of the second person in the present tense. “I feel comfortable there. It seems to flow and gets the reader involved in the book in a more direct way” says the author.