Polar ray: Everything for the “Petiote”

Welcome to the loose hotel…sorry about the Love Hotel… It’s true that the third letter, on the front, has fallen off and it’s easy to make a mistake. Because the hotel in question has nothing to do with a love nest. It is closer to the dive than the three star. At its head is George, a giant of African descent. He puts all his heart—and, for that matter, the small savings his mother left him—in running this not very dashing hotel in the small town of Chalons, on the road to Macon. For those who would not have the means to continue. Georges isn’t particularly picky about the clientele, but he doesn’t want us to use his premises for a brothel. With one exception at the Love Hotel, the beautiful and disturbing Cerise. She is a prostitute, still young, and he looks at her with the look of an affectionate and concerned father.

Cerise isn’t the establishment’s only tenant with a heterogeneous clientele. There’s a Serb with a face studded with tattoos, not the kind you want to mess with. There are also a few unfaithful lovers, occasional customers; a pregnant migrant and the latest arrival: Gus.

With Boudu, a homeless fan of author cinema (especially Michel Simon), Georges watches, welcomes and tolerates. But he will soon realize that by welcoming this Gus, he has opened Pandora’s box. Not that Gus is a bad guy, but he might be the luckiest guy in Chalons (and no doubt around). Gus wants to get it right, but he missed his wedding, lost his job and flies from galley to galley.

Asylum in Venezuela

Just this morning, an uneasy JAF (family judge) was not moved by his somewhat stupid face and his rant about the love he has for Emilie. Emilie is his daughter, his “little one”. 14 years old, a teenager and the problems that come with it for this father who misses everything and isn’t very good at finding the words. The JAF has decided… he has to find a real job – a permanent contract, not something in the woods – and decent housing, if he wants to get visitation rights for his daughter, or even a little more. Goodbye little one. A permanent position? housing? A plan is hatched in Gus’s mind: take the residents of the Love Hotel hostage after he lured his daughter there and claim a 747 and 500,000 euros to flee… to Venezuela. Needless to say, with such a black cat, this ideal scenario in his head doesn’t go as planned.

“Pettiote” is the new social and hilarious thriller from Benoît Philippon, author of the brilliant “Mamie Luger”. To the tune of Chris Isaak’s song, the author immerses the reader in the corridors of this Lose Hotel. Through Gus’ crazy project, we discover the life of this small shadowy world, the hermits of society, the itinerant problems. Each of their stories tells the world around us, that of war, that of poverty and that of passion… And in the middle, like a beacon in the icy night, the Hôtel de Georges.

There is a soul and a faith in humanity in this frenzied and in no way moralizing thriller. Benoît Philippon uses humor and the second degree to perfection to better show the solidarity of those who have nothing to lose. But by taking this Tower of Babel hostage, Gus didn’t know where he would end up, between the police, on the teeth, a gang of Central European mafia and a lawless journalist nicknamed the “Tick”. This is Benoît’s art. Philippon: Creating surprising characters in situations that are even more surprising, with surprises in every chapter “Pettiote”, a hilarious thriller and a beautiful declaration of love from a father for his daughter.



by Benoit Philippon

Equinox the arenas

374 pages, 19.90

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