A novel that probes Western political naiveté and, often hilariously, the relationship of the individual to society.
When Charlotte is kidnapped panic is only held at bay by a sardonic Inner Voice, which alternately consoles and condemns. When the Middle Eastern dictator Kassem questions the writer about why she had killed him off in her last book A Hero, he triggers a surreal month of captivity. While Kassem appears determined to explain every warlike action, Charlotte attempts to instill humanity in the dictator. Inner Voice’s incredulity at such hubris provides much-needed comic relief in an increasingly tense situation, as the unbearable loneliness unleashes a storm of unexpected sexual fantasies and complex feelings. When the promised release date comes and goes, Charlotte embarks on a hunger strike, which ultimately brings about a joyful reunion with her family. However, home quickly disintegrates into another form of confinement, as Charlotte discovers that Kassem had used her for his propaganda, streaming their interactions live online. Media interest drives the introverted writer inward; as her ability to function normally deteriorates, Charlotte becomes convinced that her existence is a liability for her children. Ultimately a post-modern fable, the novel cleverly plays with perceptions of truth while exploring the concept of imprisonment, the wider impacts of social media, and challenging widely-held assumptions about fame. A HOSTAGE probes Western political naiveté along with novelistic hubris as it, often hilariously, explores the relationship of the individual to society.
Charlotte Mendel is a traveller, an author, a parent, a farmer, a teacher and an environmental activist. Her two published adult novels have both won prizes; her first YA novel, Reversing Time was published by Guernica Editions in 2021. Charlotte has lived in Nova Scotia for 20 years and raised two wonderful children; this year she left her partner of 32 years and is in transit-her first destination is Europe.