Hotel Raphael, Rachael Boast’s fourth poetry collection, draws on the biblical figure of Job as it charts a journey through heat, drought and pain, describing not only the reality of chronic illness, but living with it in a time of global crisis. Hotel Raphael addresses Job’s terrible forbearance: how much suffering can we take, and what can we realistically change? While we fight to relieve our own pain, fix the planet’s ecological imbalance and right its terrible injustices, we must also find a way through.
Boast shows us the places where we can take refuge along the way. Raphael is the patron saint of travellers and pilgrims: his hotel is a place of rest and healing. We also pass through the balm of landscape, especially that of Dartmoor, and brush against the world of Jean Cocteau’s Orphée and his angels, who broadcast to us from the Other Side. Hotel Raphael sees Boast, our only true English Symbolist, describe a moving and vivid journey – and make an extraordinary travelling song, one that shows us how to bear our pain without trying to erase its source.