A lyrical, heartbreaking story of ardour and devastation
In this powerful novel of love and family, a doctor named Paris follows a nurse to a country on the brink of civil war. When a confrontation does break out, they are swept up by rebel forces and separated. The nurse, Helen, is pregnant; she escapes, but Paris is left behind, imprisoned by rebels as war rages.
A narrative of brutal power about parental bonds, forgiveness, and identity, The Colonial Hotel recasts for the 21st century the ancient story of Paris, Helen, and Oenone. While the action might be ripped from international headlines, Bennett creates a wholly new take on an age-old tale set in the bleakest aspect of our unstable, yet remarkable, world.
About the author
Jonathan Bennett is the author Here is my street, this tree I planted for ECW Press, and After Battersea Park and Verandah People for Raincoast Books. In 2003, he was a finalist for ARC magazine’s “poem of the year” award. Originally from Sydney, Australia, he now lives in Port Hope, Ontario.
“Jonathan Bennett has cleverly and sensitively described the many types of love tested by war. The result is a rewarding and intensely moving read: deceptively gruelling, given its slim dimensions, but also — like its heroine — devastatingly beautiful.” — National Post
“Bennett has presented a compelling, lyrical novel of love, suffering and reconciliation.” — Winnipeg Free Press
“This short novel is at once lyrical and brutal, alluring in its spare, elegant prose and shocking in its honest portrayal of the realities of political corruption and duplicitous leadership. Bennett is able to demonstrate the timelessness of the themes of the original classic story in this contemporary setting, offering both emotional depth and universal truths about the human condition.” — Waterloo Region Record
“These characters and their journey are utterly compelling.” — Ardor
“A solid novel on morality in our not-quite-postcolonial world.” — Globe and Mail