The Motel Whore by Paul Heatley

Motel Whore by Paul HeatleyI came across Paul Heatley‘s The Motel Whore (self-published) via Paul Brazill’s review of the book calling it “sad, brutal and completely enthralling.” Shit, I cannot disagree with him at all, though I might add to it by calling in a minor masterpiece — minor in that The Motel Whore is just a novella.

We witness more or less one day in the life of Joanie as she exists in the motel, servicing both customers and her motel-owning pimp. Heatley’s descriptions of Joanie’s life are overly depressing as she tries to compartmentalize her life using her room and bathroom.

The bathroom shines, painfully clean. Bottles of bleach sit half-empty on the linoleum floor next to the toilet. The showerhead leaks, but it gleams. It is used often, to wash, to wash the waste of customers from between her legs or inside her mouth or from upon her chest before she moves on to the next. Not all of them will wear a condom. She never forces the issue. Pregnancy is not a concern. Pregnancy is impossible, a womb destroyed by cheap, careless abortions. Diseases are not a concern. Diseases are cast from her mind. Life is the disease. She has the life. She can’t shake the life.

But she cannot escape the stench. Even a brief foray to a diner gives her no respite. The Motel Whore is not a redemption story, Heatley just gives us the facts of Joanie in bleak descriptive prose. The Motel Whore is a stunning work.

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