The sources that have inspired ‘Hotazel’ are many and multi-fold. As a work of art ‘Hotazel’ is a literary work in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. ‘Hotazel’ falls into that celebrated genre of literary creations that arises by way of not only breaking out of, but also transcending, those four walls of confinement which imprison, detain, cut-off, isolate and remove the inmate or detainee from society and the life-sustaining social intercourse which one enjoys with family and friends.
‘Hotazel’ shares the sense of bodily confinement with other works such as Descartes’ ‘Meditations’, Xavier De Maistre’s ‘A Journey around my Room’, Beckett’s Molloy and Malone, Bunyan’s ‘ Pilgrim’s Progress’, and Proust’s ‘Narrator’. Forced to endure the mind numbing paucity of events which usually interrupt and fill the normality of our daily lives, Hannah clings onto her sanity by exploring her memories, by story-telling, by day dreaming, by lecturing to an imaginary audience , by preaching to an imaginary congregation, and by philosophizing in an imaginary seminar. And sometimes the dreaming, story-telling, recollections and the interludes of didactic-pedagogic-lecturing-to-an-invisible-audience on various themes, all merge into one another. In the prison cell the boundaries between storying-telling, dreaming and imaginary pedagogic-interludes, breakdown, and become hazy and indistinct.
Hannah in ‘Hotazel’, like Descartes who while completely room-bound, trapped within the walls of his wintry lodgings spent his sojourn pondering on the Cogito, now Hannah Zeeman also in a state of ‘enforced leisure’, likewise embarks on her own journey of the mind, in a fashion similar to De Maistre’s Journey, Bunyan’s Pilgrimage, and of course the meanderings of Beckett’s room and bed-bound characters.
Out of the microcosm of her seclusion, first in her prison cell and then later in the isolation of the bedroom of her childhood following her release, she becomes an intrepid explorer of the boundaryless macrocosm with represents not only her physical-material confinement but also her ‘metaphysical’ confinement.
Like all the characters who are engaging in breaking down the walls of their confinement Hannah even in her immobilized state emerges as an unstoppably loquacious protagonist who somehow manages to have the final word on all matters of ultimate concern. Hopefully it will be this attribute which will endear her with her readers and make ’Hotazel’ a book worthwhile reading.