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Sonia Pilcer

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Sonia Pilcer was born in Augsburg, Germany, and raised in the boroughs of New York City. Her latest book, “The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites,” is based on the residential hotel her father managed on the Upper Westside in the ‘70s. “Teen Angel,” her first novel, launched Pilcer’s career in her twenties. It was bought by Universal Studios and she wrote the screenplay with Garry Marshall. The book has recently been reissued in a 35th Year Anniversary Edition. Her other novels include “Maiden Rites,” “Little Darlings,” and “I-Land: Manhattan Monologues.” Her adaptation of “I-Land” played at the Thirteenth Street Repertory Theater for six years. Most recently, “The Holocaust Kid,” her deepest and most personal book, explored the meaning of being “2G,” a second generation Holocaust survivor. Her theatrical adaptation was staged at Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, Mass. Sonia Pilcer teaches at Berkshire Community College and the Writers Voice in New York City, as well as privately.

Articles by Sonia Pilcer

WENDILAH: A personal remembrance of Wendy Rabinowitz

Thursday, 13 Dec 2018 - On Tuesday, December 11, Wendy Rabinowitz, 72, died in a car crash several miles from her home in Pittsfield.vWhat you might not know is what a luminous presence Wendy Rabinowitz was in the Berkshires, and beyond.

A NOVEL: ‘Over the Edge,’ Chapter 7

Sunday, 11 Mar 2018 - The little bike wound up, down, between trees. This certainly was unusual, but she wasn’t complaining despite the bouncing up and down over the now-nonexistent road.

A trip to Burning Man

Sunday, 4 Sep 2016 - The rules are simple: No commerce, bring what you need to survive, leave no trace, participants only, no spectators. Take a journey into a world of art, music, sexuality and fire. -- Burning Man Manifesto

Poem: Yizkor

Wednesday, 23 Sep 2015 - Yizkor, in Hebrew, means "Remember." It is a memorial prayer recited four times a year. One such occasion is Yom Kippur.

Bits & Bytes: Lifelines for writers

Friday, 18 Sep 2015 - Without deadlines, we are helpless to our demons. Most writers have a few. So come get a lifeline and meet a few other struggling writers.

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Suite 49

Friday, 19 Jun 2015 - Installment 32, the last chapter: “I ran down the street as soon as I heard the announcer on the radio. ‘John Lennon’s been shot as he was entering the Dakota,’” Hana continued. “There were hundreds of people in front of the gates, holding candles, playing guitars, singing.”

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Basement

Friday, 12 Jun 2015 - How many times had he made the identical trip to the hotel? Every morning for nineteen years minus weekends, and returned back the same way, every evening, five times a week. 52 weeks. 4,940 times. Minus vacations, days off. 4,800. And this time was the last time. He exited at 60th Street and turned up Third Avenue.

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Lobby

Friday, 29 May 2015 - Luba never liked the Last Hotel. For one thing, the neighborhood scared her to pieces. During the short walk from the Broadway 72nd St. subway, bums accosted her, filthy palms open. Drug addicts hanging outside buildings, passing back and forth a cigarette, women dressed like men, garbage everywhere.

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Lobby

Friday, 15 May 2015 - America gonef. You thief, you stealer of dreams, of desires, of livelihood. He’d had work, honest, good, clean work. He managed a hotel with nearly forty residents. And it was being taken right from him. Like a plate of food, snatched from your hands. America gonef.

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Suite 22

Friday, 8 May 2015 - He opened a large navy blue bowling bag with red letters that spelled BROOKLYN BOMBERS. Turning it over, dollar bills of all denominations flowed out of the bag, floating on to the bed like greenish butterflies.

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Suite 21

Friday, 1 May 2015 - Dr. T wins the sleaze award. The shrink, announces he is moving out of the hotel. The building manager responds: “I’d never come to a stranger, sit in an office, talk about my problems. I was in Auschwitz. This is my number.” He raised his sleeve and showed his tattoo.

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Suite 27

Friday, 24 Apr 2015 - Installment 26: a chance encounter in the elevator. "As Reardon stepped in, he noticed the pretty older woman from the fourth floor. He had seen her before. Dark hair and flashing eyes, her name was Rachel, he thought. He nodded to her as he walked to the back of the elevator car. She wore a short black dress and high heels."

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Suite 32

Friday, 17 Apr 2015 - “Crossing Central Park West, they made a striking older couple. Faye in tight black pants, a well-fitting sweater the color of her hair, and walking shoes. Pincus in a pair of new-looking blue jeans, probably his first, that Faye had bought him, of course, and his plaid jacket and muffler.”

Poem: For Yom HaShoah

Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 - Two by two, we boarded the boat Noah’s grateful beasts To salvage what was left.

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Suite 62

Saturday, 11 Apr 2015 - Installment 24: Fred turned on the TV. Ronald Reagan’s smiling face. He turned the TV off. “Fascist pig,” he mumbled. His eyes fixed on the wooden box in his bookcase, filled with red sticks of dynamite.

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Sofa Club

Friday, 27 Mar 2015 - In this, the 23rd installment of The Last Hotel, the Sofa Club consider their future, now that the Last Hotel is being sold: “I’ll miss this,” Pincus said. “Sitting on the sofa. Talking every night a little.” Pete took a long sip as he slowly slid down the couch. “I thought it would be my Last Hotel.”

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Suite 45

Friday, 20 Mar 2015 - Slowly, she floated to the door, enjoying every delicious moment of anticipation. She took her time, adjusting her décolletage. “Just a moment,” she nearly sang with joy.  

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Suite 52

Friday, 13 Mar 2015 - Amber, in Suite 52: "The only way he could stand his life was the knowledge that he would grow up and leave Andrew behind. There was a there there. And that’s where he was. He was a she in New York City."  

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: The Roof

Friday, 6 Mar 2015 - The sun had set over the Jersey skyline. From the roof, she could see the mighty Hudson River. Technicolor pinks, oranges, and periwinkle. Even if it was pollution, what a show. She took another hit.

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Suite 36

Friday, 27 Feb 2015 - Installment 19: Pincus exhaled ecstatically. “You know what the German poet Heine said about cholent? ‘The heavenly food that our dear Lord God himself once taught Moses to cook at Mt. Sinai.’ ”

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Basement

Friday, 20 Feb 2015 - Installment 18: "Leah walked to the stairwell, up the stairs to the Penthouse. She unlocked her door. Walked in and fell face first on her bed. She began to weep. Maybe the world wasn’t totally cold and cruel. Maybe Fred thought he could get laid."

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Suite 42

Friday, 13 Feb 2015 - Suite 42: “Simmering in a thick iron pot overnight, the potatoes, onions, garlic and kidney beans had melted with the beef, creating a cholesterol paste made for masonry, not a mortal mouth. Chicken shmaltz was the secret ingredient in her cholent.”

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Suite 52

Friday, 30 Jan 2015 - Suite 52: Amber, who isn’t what she seems and encourages illusions in others. And Faye, who proclaims: “Oh, to be a sexual siren at 60…” she told her reflection. “The not being put out to pasture quite yet. Keeping it up, pulling it in, the body dancing.”

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Lobby

Friday, 23 Jan 2015 - Saul could’ve bought the Last Hotel in 1972. Saul recalled that Otto Stern, the original owner, offered to sell it to him. “I can’t take the aggravation no more,” he had told him. He wanted $125,000 in cash. It was a steal.

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Suite 62

Friday, 16 Jan 2015 - Installment 13: Fred, the scavenger in Suite 62, on his daily round: "On the street, Fred hopped on his bike. As soon as he started pedaling, the wind and car exhaust in his face, he got the feeling. He was totally free! Free as a NYC pigeon. Neither rain nor snow could keep him off his bicycle, the best fastest and cheapest way to get around the city."

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Basement

Friday, 9 Jan 2015 - In installment 12, Henry deals with the victim of a shooting in Suite 49, and with the help of Esther covers up the evidence. "Running his fingers over the smooth casing, he thought about when he’d last touched one of these things. Yes, he’d enlisted right after graduation. Got his high school degree like he promised his mother. First, he was in Texas for a few months, then France, and finally, Poland."

‘Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Suite 49

Friday, 2 Jan 2015 - In this, the 11th installment of "The Last Hotel," there's a New Year's Eve party going on in Suite 49, when an unexpected visitor appears and is shot, just as midnight strikes and the decade of the 1980s is ushered in.

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Penthouse

Friday, 26 Dec 2014 - Installment 10, the Penthouse: Leah scrutinized her face in the mirror. She didn’t look like either of her parents. Maybe she was born to one of those relatives who got gassed by Hitler. A refugee changeling. It probably wasn’t true, but she never felt part of her own family.

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites,’ Suite 22

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 - For several minutes, they crawled on the carpet, feeling for the lens with their fingertips. Next to Lenny, Esther looked slight, feminine, even delicate. Once their heads met. They gazed at each other on all fours. Esther burst into a fit of giggles. “Will you look at us? I feel so stupid.”

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Suite 42

Friday, 12 Dec 2014 - Suite 42, Installment eight of Sonia Pilcer's 'The Last Hotel': "Henry sat down on a purple velvet armchair, leaning back comfortably. A midnight blue ostrich boa floated over him. He wrapped it around himself. 'So that’s what luxury feels like…' He sighed."

‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Suite 45

Friday, 5 Dec 2014 - This is installment seven of Sonia Pilcer's novel "The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites," in which we meet Monica Parker: "People said that she resembled Vivien Leigh. Her pale, white, never-exposed-to-the-sun skin, her dark shoulder-length hair, red lips and cheeks."