When Simon and his parents arrive in the small town of Reception and check in to the Ottoman Motel, things between them are tense but normal. Then, while Simon is asleep, his mother and father disappear. Are they lost? Has something terrible happened to them? All Simon knows is that he is alone in a strange town. Madaline, the local police constable is kind. Ned Gale and his kids give Simon a place to stay. In the bar down at the Ottoman, Jack Tarden and the other locals are sympathetic. But why does it seem as if no one is trying to find Simon's parents? The Ottoman Motel is Christopher Currie's first novel, and in the tradition of 'the literary debut' it is interesting and shows great promise but has a few flaws. It sits somewhere between being just a good story and being a literary tale, something really compelling about it which made it hard to put down, but some of the writing and attempts to lift it to a more literary sphere are jarring.
The best uses of metaphor and simile immediately provide an image which transfers a deeper emotional understanding of the idea the writer is trying to express. In this book the author sometimes manages to do this, for example every year, his parents would put one (a Christmas Calendar) together as a gift to send to friends and clients. A series of sentimental family portraits taken with a self-timer, the three of them rushing together in front of random backdrops. Simon always imagined his family as a set of opposing magnets: you had to throw them together quickly before they repelled apart. But more often the attempts had the opposite effect, causing some confusion and jarring me out of the reading flow. For example when she finally turned her head to look at Simon, her eyes were the colour of a slow, sad ocean.