Saturday, April 23, 2011

Another Cover I Couldn't Walk Past!

I just love eye popping book covers, as I've mentioned before. Sometimes, when I'm shelving my 4th or 5th cart of new books at the library, I  pretend I'm the judge of the latest artwork and choose a title based on that. I always find it interesting when audience members at the reading festival or other presentations question how writers choose their covers.

 The quick answer is - they don't. Unless you're a James Patterson or Danielle Steel you actually have no choice on cover art, not even on the title they tell us.  Also, one's overseas publisher might proffer your novel with a completely different cover than the one used here in the states. The same goes for paperback editions vs. hardcover.

The Lady Matador's Hotel: A NovelWith that in mind, let me tell you about the book I'm currently reading.  The Lady Matador's Hotel just cried out to be taken home and I finally got to it this week. The setup is reminiscent of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, in that the building, in this case the elegant Hotel Miraflores, somewhere in South America, actually becomes a character in the book.

A fascinating cadre of seemingly disparate characters is staying at Miraflores during this particular week, and author Cristina Garcia (Dreaming in Cuban), does a lovely job of weaving the threads that will tie them all together.

Suki Palacios in Room 719, aloof to the excitement generated by her visit, prepares to meet her bull while in the Honeymoon suite a Korean businessman tries to placate his very pregnant mistress and still keep a handle on the labor unrest at this textile factory.

Down in the lobby an unhappily married couple is about to take possession of a newborn girl adopted through a highly suspect agency run by the intrepid attorney Gertrudis Stuber whose husband is having an affair with one of her hired birth mothers. And in the kitchen, a former guerrilla fighter turned waitress prepares a poisonous soup for the atrocity committing colonel who pompously awaits her ministrations in the dining room.

Garcia's characters abound with all the flaws that make them human,  causing the reader to empathize even with the worst of them, rooting for their happiness, and laughing at their all too recognizable foibles. Reading this novel gave me that juicily uncomfortable feeling of being a voyeur. Great fun!

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