What if you lived in a perfect hostel that took care of all your needs? And how would you cope if one day that hostel disappeared? Through the central metaphor of the hostel, this understated graphic novel guides us on a nuanced journey through of the issues of love, loss, and letting go.
Orphaned from birth, X has no place to go until a mysterious hostel agrees to take him in. This Hostel of Lost Function has services to meet all the needs of its guests. There are always extra comforters, to keep the cold at bay. One room is packed with telephones, and at the other end of the line there is always someone who will listen patiently to tales of heartache and woe. The hostel takes in guests, no questions asked, feeds them nourishing food, and never asks for payment. Within the hostel’s sheltering embrace, X slowly loses the ability to feel negative emotions and sensations.
But one day, a storm carries away the hostel. When X returns from work, he cannot find a single trace of its existence. Consumed with self-reproach and regret, he becomes isolated by a suffering he believes no one else can understand. Yet he also comes to recognize the depth of the love he had for the place that gave him a sense of home. As his lost functions return to him, he has no choice but to face the pains and discomforts of living, and in doing so, finds that accepting loss may be the only way to reconnect with others.
A symbolic tale told through a surreal mixture of collage, printmaking, and illustration, Hostel of Lost Function was created as a tribute to the author’s late mother. Though somber in tone, this strikingly original work proposes that suffering and loss, if properly embraced, can become gateways to greater wisdom and compassion.