Horizontal Hotel


“In Roger King’s Horizontal Hotel, Africa is both a physical location and ‘an area of our minds’. The narrator, John Meddows, is the Deputy Director of Rural Planning in an unnamed African republic. The novel spans only one day, but that day encompasses a long mental journey. Meddows has a fever, and King’s writing is intense and feverish, full of the minute observations of an obsessed and prophetic eye: ‘Outside, a mist of pink Saharan dust loiters oppressively’ – the world seems tinted, slightly askew.

King explores the subtleties of the neo-colonial relationship of white men working within a black government, where the rules of the game are less strictly defined. Meddows’ boss Adrian is a typical well-intentioned technocrat, aloof from the society he is trying to plan. His colleague Obi, on the other hand is an African on the make, whose favourite word is ‘modern.’ Meddows’ own response is to experience Africa raw and to dance the night away at the Horizontal Hotel.”
 
Anuradha Vittachi in the New Internationalist

 
 
 

critical praise

“Will appeal to those who like to be kept guessing, who neither expect not want a novel to flag its style, tone and message from the first page. ..The African scene, the human groupings within it, are excellently done. All is trembling on the edge of breakdown, yet the writing stays cool; the effect is of a quiet delirium.”

—THE GUARDIAN

Roger King in Nigeria conducting "research" for Horizontal Hotel

“A searing invocation of modern Africa.”

—THE IRISH TIMES


“Takes a deliciously wry look at post-colonial West Africa from the point of view of a randy and fever-infected expatriate agricultural advisor.”

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH


“The writing is crisp, the perception notable and the awareness impressive.”

—NORTHERN ECHO