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Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
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Hotel du Lac (1984)

by Anita Brookner

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English (62)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (65)
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
Whenever I read a certain kind of woman's novel where the protagonist is either middle-aged, tired and/or disgraced, I tend to worry about, what I call, "The Awakening" effect where a woman may find, when there are no other options available to her, that there's only one way out of a bad situation.
Hotel Du Lac, written nearly 100 years after Chopin's "The Awakening" and set in the 1980's proves to be a document as to how far women have come.
Romance writer, Edith Hope, has been advised by her friends to get out of town, regroup and think about the dreadful thing she's done. Exile at Hotel Du Lac at first repulses Edith and also perhaps the reader. Edith describes everything in her room the color of cooked veal, a misty shroud encompasses the lake and surrounding mountains. Edith and the reader are trapped! Although the story unfolds at a snails pace and some may even toss it aside one should look at Edith's story more as a character study of those also staying at the hotel. The other women at Du Lac are also in some type of exile and in them Edith reflects on who she is and who she might become if she chooses to remain on the path she's been traveling. She may find it necessary to fall into line with old school thought or she may discover she has options.
Hotel Du Lac in September and Edith, both dignified, solid and out of season are empowering and well worth a quick read. ( )
  Carmenere | Jul 25, 2018 |
I loved the writing style of this, very wry and subtle, with excellent character descriptions of the various social misfits staying at the Hotel du Lac. The pacing is very good as we gradually realise why Edith is there, whilst at the same time getting to grips with hotel life. WIll definitely be reading more Brookner. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Sep 30, 2017 |
Hotel du Lac
by Anita Brookner
Triad / Panther, 1985
ISBN 0-586-06466-4
softcover, 184 p.

Review date: September 2017

I was looking for something short to read and while perusing the shelves of the free read-and-return rack at the public library, I came across Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac. A notice on the front cover proclaimed that it was a Booker Prize winner and the blurbs on the back cover were promising, so I picked it up and decided to give it a shot. It’s the first of Ms. Brookner’s novels that I’ve ever read and also the first Booker winner. Unfortunately, my experience with this novel doesn’t really give me much cause to visit either Brookner’s oeuvre or the list of Booker winners again.

Set in the period contemporary to its 1984 publication, Hotel du Lac is very much the product of and a window into its time. The main character, Edith Hope, is a novelist, a writer of traditional, tame romance books. She herself leads a regular, boring life, except for her hidden affair with a married man. When the book opens, Edith is recently arrived at the Hotel du Lac in Switzerland, in exile for some wrong she committed at home in England. Through the course of the novel, her relationships with other guests develop and the reason for her exile is revealed.

I’m not sure why this won a prize as prestigious as the Booker. It started out interesting, but within a couple chapters I began to find the characters quite dull. Edith especially. She’s a naive, boring, pushover who doesn’t change at all over the course of the novel. Maybe it won because it upholds the Very British Way of the Thatcher years. There are a few parts where Brookner, through Edith, kind of sucks up to prevailing patriarchal attitudes and I think maybe the judges latched on to a woman character by a woman author who supported their views. I don’t know; maybe I’m wrong—but I can’t really think of any good reason for the accolades heaped upon a book with such a boring plot and unappealing characters.

Some folks have said it’s the writing, but Brookner’s prose in the novel only occasionally rises to the truly admirable. More often it’s as plain as the characters. Sometimes it’s downright bad. Phrases like “A strong smell of scent emanated from her many pleats and folds”—even in context—do cause a reader to contemplate the language but not in a good way.

By the time I finished Hotel du Lac, I was very happy to be done, and I’ll be just as happy to give it back to the library. I recognize some of the titles on the list of Booker Prize winners and I’ve heard good things about them, but I’m wary about trying any more of Brookner’s novels despite the fact that she wrote so many and was fairly well acclaimed. Maybe sometime in the future, but not soon. This book is just too fresh in my mind.

——————————

Rating:

2 stars: It was OK. Whereas many reviewers tend to be more generous, most works I rate receive two or three stars. At this rating, all my expectations have been met; there are few technical, conventional, or factual flaws, if any, and I found the work to be mildly entertaining and/or sufficiently informative, but it wouldn't be at the top of my list of recommendations. There is a bit of subjectivity at work: some otherwise three-star works might end up here simply because their genre or subject matter doesn't appeal to me. Equivalent to a school grade of 'C', or average. ( )
  tokidokizenzen | Sep 20, 2017 |
Anonymous female author arrives at country hotel, peruses grey landscape, ignores novel-in-progress, and instead writes breezy, boring letter to David, her former lover
whose family they betrayed, as well as the fiance she deserted. It would have been welcome to have Geoffrey Long come alive with spirit.

Mild mystery evolves about why she has banished herself from her home and friends.

This is undercut by her near-total self absorption ("melancholy of exile") and her relating of the hair styles, fashion, shopping
and concerns of rich and privileged women.

The most exciting main character is the weather on the lake and mountain during the a new season.

The meek, depressed author never changes into a person with enough character to be guided by her own feelings and
not always by other's expectations.

Worse still, the ending hinges on a plot twist which makes the strongest human character, Mr. Neville, a ridiculous liar.

One great resounding quote: "Naturally reclusive, she found it unsurprising that people left her to her fate." ( )
  m.belljackson | Feb 7, 2017 |
An ordinary woman hiding from an ordinary life , tainted slightly by an affair with a married man, is exiled to an ordinary hotel on Lake Geneval at the "end of the season" and with the help of the last of the summer visitors, attempts to change her life. ( )
  TheWasp | Feb 5, 2017 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brookner, Anitaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Massey, AnnaReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
OKarma, AlexandraNarratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fili, LouiseCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gálvölgyi, Juditsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaarma, JüriIllustreerija.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moxley, SusanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pedersen, JudyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sáenz de Heredia, ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siikarla, Evasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Talvet, MalleTÕlkija Ja JÄrelsÕna Autor.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Victor, TomAuthor Photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wolff, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Rosamund Lehmann
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From the window all that could be seen was a receding area of grey.
Quotations
A mild and scholarly man who looked like a country doctor, he disliked the more sociable aspects of his calling, but had nevertheless booked a table in a cathedral-like restaurant, where the patrons cowered in worship before the marvels to be set in front of them, and had gamely tackled the intricately coiled fillet of fish which had seemed to be the simplest item on the menu.
There here and now, the quotidian, as beginning to acquire substance. The dimension of terror that this realization brought with it - as if knowing the place too well might give her presence there some reality, some validity - was quickly palliated by the extraordinary accumulation of facts
And as most of Mrs. Pusey's sentences began with the words 'Of course', they had a range of tranquil confidence which somehow occluded any attempt to introduce an opinion of her own.
Mrs. Pusey's disposition to flirt, even when there was no one around to flirt with, was, to Edith, somehow disturbing, although it was done with such lack of inhibition that it should have appeared harmless. On those rare occasions when Mrs. Pusey was sitting alone, Edith had observed her in all sorts of attention-catching ploys, creating a small locus of busyness that inevitably invited someone to come to her aid. She would not be still or be quiet until she had captured the attention of whomever she judged to be necessary for her immediate purpose.
The sensation of being entertained by words was one which she encountered all too rarely. People expect writers to entertain them, she reflected.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679759328, Paperback)

Edith Hope (a.k.a. romance author Veronica Wilde) has been banished by her friends to a stately hotel in Switzerland. During her stay she befriends some of the other guests, each of whom has his or her own tale. Edith struggles to come to terms with her career and love--the lack, the benefits, and the meaning thereof.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:16 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Recounts the holiday of Edith Hope, meek, unmarried, and thirty-nine, who, on the mend from a disastrous love affair, becomes intimately involved with her fellow guests at the Swiss Hotel du Lac.

» see all 5 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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