Interstícios, labirintos e olhares em Hotel de Paulo Varela Gomes

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In this paper, we propose a reading of the novel Hotel (2014), by Paulo Varela Gomes (1952-2016), taking space as the topic around which the fictional universe of the novel is founded.
It should be emphasized that space is not understood here only as one of the categories of the narrative; being so, the space in Hotel, as we will try to show, founds the very fictionality of the novel.
In a text published in 2011, in Público, and precisely entitled "Hotel", Paulo Varela Gomes reflected on the ambivalent nature of the hotel, based on a quote by Proust: on the one hand, whoever arrives at the hotel immediately wants to be enveloped by it; on the other hand, what is attractive to the guest is the lack of familiarity with the space that surrounds him. It is because he invests meaning in this non-place that it becomes a transient home, since it is inhabited only for the time necessary. Otherwise, the hotel remains an unknown place, a place of passage, which always remains a mystery.
The Hotel Torre das Infantas, where the action of the novel takes place, is "a large palace of the early twentieth century, a house" (p.7), which Joaquim Heliodoro Ataíde e Pinto Winzengerode de Mascarenhas Adrião Manoel de Menezes "knew inside and out since childhood and about which he had elaborated many fantasies, castellan, hotel and sexual" (p.7), until he bought it and transformed it into a hotel.
The transformation of the house into a hotel occurs under the sign of eccentricity - or Joaquim Heliodoro had not won the Euromillions. Against the architect's advice, the owner will convert the house into "an intricate labyrinth of curves, acute angles and jagged corners" (p. 8), imposing architectural and decorative solutions that help the illusion of being in a picturesque house rather than in a hotel, since hotels "are the same all over the world from Acapulco to Vladivostok" (p. 11).
The peculiar architecture of the building, made known by a thorough and extended descriptive apparatus, would seem designed both to add to the mystery surrounding the hotel and to prick the curiosity of both readers and the characters themselves, guests or hotel staff.
More than operating cuts or boundaries (physical, psychological, social,...), the space in Hotel connects and opens horizons to the aspects that are intended to be (un)hidden: the rooms that are difficult to access, the unusual views or the secret rooms; the obscure memory that surrounds the building and its first owners; the personal stories and intimate desires of the characters, which are revealed by the confrontation with the space; the echo of Paulo Varela Gomes, art historian and academic, transfigured in the essayistic narrator who describes the space, in characters who discuss the space, or in Joaquim Heliodoro, fascinated by history.
Space grounds the fictionality of Hotel - and invites everyone, readers included, to lose themselves in its multiple labyrinths, interstices and demands of the gaze, as will be shown.
Idioma originalPortuguese
Título da publicação do anfitriãoIII CONGRESSO INTERNACIONAL DE CULTURA LUSÓFONA CONTEMPORÂNEA Fronteiras e Horizontes: espaço(s) e tempo(s) de diálogo
EditoresLuís Miguel Cardoso, Teresa Mendes, Teresa Oliveira, Luís Henriques, Maria Filomena Barradas
EditoraInstituto Politécnico de Portalegre
Número de páginas10
ISBN (eletrónico)978-989-8806-28-4
Estado da publicaçãoPublicado - 2018