My review today is for Zenith Hotel by French author Oscar Coop-Phane, translated from French by Ros Schwartz.
This is a short, easy to read account of a day in the life of Nanou, a Parisian street prostitute who lives in a grotty room at the run down Zenith Hotel. Despite the subject matter this isn’t an explicit book, but does contain some references to sexual acts.
We follow Nanou’s musings as she writes about her day and thoughts on her life, but with cleverly inserted detailed snippets of the lives of those she encounters - her clients. The men who lead her off the cold street into a warm room for ten minutes are all different, but their lives are going nowhere fast. They have issues, problems and worries and for different reasons take comfort in her arms.
This a very descriptive book where life is presented with harsh, grimy reality and not at all sugar coated. I felt a lot of sadness too, Paris is the city of love, but this shows another side of real life, the loneliness of those who exist without the world really noticing. Nanou notices and is there for them, but who is there at the end of her day when she is back in her tired room, smoking a cigarette in silence.