“I opened the French windows and stood on a stone balcony. Beyond bare trees, a mild haze throbbed with traffic. The station’s grand façade was magnificent in pale sunshine. On the horizon, through a shimmer of smog, the Alps. Memories of skiing. Then an ambulance was slaloming up the street.“
Frank’s reclusive existence in a leafy part of London is shattered when he is summoned to Milan for the funeral of an old friend. Preoccupied by this sudden intrusion of his past, he flies, oblivious, into the epicentre of a crisis he has barely registered on the news.
It is spring, his luxury hotel offers every imaginable comfort; perhaps he will be able to weather the situation and return home unscathed. What Frank doesn’t know is that he’s about to make a discovery that will change his heart and his mind.
Hotel Milano is a universal story from a unique moment in recent history: a book about the kindness of strangers, and about a complicated man who, faced with the possibility of saving a life, must also take stock of his own.
Pleasing, convincing, admirable …Many of the greatest novels have as their theme – their subterranean theme anyway – the moral education of the hero or heroine; it’s the subject of all Jane Austen’s novels, several of Henry James’s too. It is the underlying subject of Hotel Milan, and Parks develops it in a manner that is pleasing, convincing and admirable. He has always been a novelist willing to try something new. Hotel Milano is one of his most engaging and satisfying books.
Allan Massie in The Scotsman
The answer to these urgent questions, and Frank’s seemingly impossible predicament once he moves the family into his room, grip the reader to the final page … Hotel Milano comes closest to evoking what it was really like to watch the world be redrawn in real time..
Jude Cook in The Guardian