A sweeping, atmospheric novel about European identity, centered on a hotel that encapsulates the continent's manifold contradictions. The love of my life lives in my past. This, despite the alliteration, is a terrible sentence to write. I don't want to come to the conclusion that, as is the case for the hotel where I am staying and the continent after which it is named, the best is behind me and that I have little more to expect from the future. A writer takes residence in the stately but decaying Grand Hotel Europa in order to contemplate where things went wrong with Cleo—an art historian and the love of his life. His moping takes him all the way back to when they first met in Genoa, his wanton visits to her in Venice, and their dulcet trips to Malta, Palmaria, Portovenere, and the Cinque Terre in their thrilling search for the last painting made by Caravaggio. Meanwhile, he becomes fascinated by the mysteries of the Grand Hotel Europa and the memorably eccentric characters who inhabit it, all of whom seem to come from a more elegant time. All the while, globalization is making its unmistakable claim on even this place, where a sense of lost glory hangs sulkily in the air. Grand Hotel Europa is Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s masterly novel of the old continent, where there's so much history that there hardly seems space left for a future. Cinematic, lyrical, and brimming with humor, this is a novel about European identity, which like the staff and residents of the Grand Hotel Europa may have already seen its best days.