« Listening to her, it was quite a remarkable feat, at 16 years old, to have wiped everything out, and so it goes on. Yet, by mindlessly blathering on, I began to prove to her and to myself that I had got myself into some bizarre situations. If someone had said to me yesterday, “You behaved like the most despicable voyeur” because I walked in on a couple in bed, I would never have believed it. It all came back to me automatically, in front of this girl in her armchair. I felt her breath on my skin… incredible what she infuses in me. Almost without wanting to, I reconstructed the forgotten scene. And others. In the end she’ll convince me that I’m hiding something from her. That I’m hiding something from myself?
It was like meeting a stranger called Jeff Valdera. And talking of strangers, she sits there too, with her persistent questions.”
During his stays with his aunt in Davos, in Hotel Waldheim, had the teenager Jeff Valdera been nothing more than a pawn in a game of chess where the East and West were fighting it out during the Cold War?
Invent your memory or invent your life? That is the question Francois Vallejo tries to answer with Hotel Waldheim, his most intimate novel. But is this not the same quest that runs throughout his work of 20 years, from Madame Angeloso (prix France Télévisions), to West (prix du Livre Inter) and even A Dangerous Pleasure?