"In a Hotel Garden" is the strangest and most enigmatic of Gabriel Josipovici's many strange, enigmatic novels. On the surface it is a simple story of the growing obsession young Englishman with a Jewish woman he meets on holiday. Gradually it reveals itself as an exploration of power of memory and imagination, also raising vividly the question of how far it is possible for non-Jews to understand Jews, however intrigued by them they may be. In a haunting play of echoes the novel presents us not with hotel garden but two, embedded respectively in the stony landscape of Tuscany and in the forested mountains of Alto Adige; not one story of erotic obsession but two, played out in Italy in the 1920s, the other in present-day London. A great walk over a mountain in the Dolomites forms the mysterious centre of this book. Behind the story looms our dilemma of coming to terms with the destruction of European Jews.
Gabriel Josipovici was born in Nice in 1940 of Russo-Italian, Romano-Levantine parents. He lived in Egypt from 1945 to 1956, when he came to Britain. He read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, graduating with a First in 1961. From 1963 to 1998 he taught at the University of Sussex. He is the author of sixteen novels, three volumes of short stories, eight critical works, and numerous stage and radio plays, and is a regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement. His plays have been performed throughout Britain and on radio in Britain, France and Germany, and his work has been translated into the major European languages and Arabic. In 2001 he published A Life, a biographical memoir of his mother, the translator and poet Sacha Rabinovitch (London Magazine editions). His most recent works are Two Novels: 'After' and 'Making Mistakes' (Carcanet), What Ever Happened to Modernism? (Yale University Press) and Heart's Wings (Carcanet, 2010) Carcanet publish his novels and fictions Contre-Jour (1986), In the Fertile Land (1987), Steps (1990), The Big Glass (1991), In a Hotel Garden (1993) and Moo Pak (1995) and his essays Text and Voice (1993). His most recent novels are Goldberg: Variations (Carcanet, 2001) and Only Joking (Zweitausendeins, Germany, 2005). In 2006 Carcanet published a collection of his essays, The Singer on the Shore and his novel Everything Passes.