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Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Phantom Bristol hotels


Bristol hotels crop up a lot in fiction. It is a landmark in Jan Morris’s convincingly real Mediterranean city state of Hav (“You desperately want the place to exist,” said the Observer book reviewer. “with all its idiosyncrasies - the snowberries that ripen only 'when the early spring suns melt the last of the escarpment's winter snows'; the lethal Roof-Race which is to the people of Hav 'as the bull-running is to Pamplona'."

Roald Dahl had an invented Bristol Hotel in Cannes, in his story Skin, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 just before Christmas. It was a double bluff, as the fact that there is no Bristol hotel in Cannes provided a punchline to the tale.

The Bristol hotel 'in a large city on the Atlantic coast' of America is also the setting for “A Night at the Bristol Hotel” This “ancient edifice of four stories, weather-darkened and squeezed on every side by the overgrowth of the great city....” provides the backdrop for spooky short story that has just been published on a blog by Norman A. Rubin.

And there is City of Ghosts, a story about the Capsis Bristol in Salonica, where Tom Cotton found himself one Easter weekend.

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