I have always been fascinated by books which contain hotels, as the inanimate object the building itself can be as much of a character as those that dwell inside it. Therefore Hotel Alpha was the sort of book that was going to appeal to me.
Howard York – self-made man and founder of London’s extraordinary Hotel Alpha – is one of those people who makes you feel that anything is possible. He is idolized by his blind adopted son, Chas, and Graham, the inimitable concierge, whose lives revolve around the Alpha.
So we immediately know the three main characters of this novel. The book though is only told from the point of view of two of them –
Chas the blind adopted son. He has rarely left the hotel. The hotel is his womb, he exists within in and everything and everyone is there to protect him. But an outsider is suddenly there and a different opinion, a different influence suddenly makes Chas think that perhaps there is another life.
Graham has been there since the conception of Hotel Alpha, there is nothing he does not know or can do for the hotel or the owner, Howard. But as the Hotel moves forward, Graham seems to be always one step behind. Holding on to traditions, methods and principles of the past. Remembering how it used to be.
The Hotel Alpha is very much in the foreground, the events of the time setting, the Olympic Bid for example ground the book into a time that readers can perhaps relate to. Whatever happens in the world Howard is content that himself and Hotel Alpha are on the winning side.
There are doubts forming for Chas and Graham as things change and the past is pushed aside for the future, trouble is the past is where the secrets lie and perhaps it would be better if these were told.
An interesting book, a limited scope as most of the book is set within the hotel but it did rather concentrate your focus on what was happening there. I am not sure whether it all fitted together for me in the end but it was enjoyable nonetheless.