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The White Hotel by D. M. Thomas
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The White Hotel (1981)

by D. M. Thomas

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,398228,468 (3.74)37
A chronicle of a woman's life told first through Freud's letters, then through a case history of her analysis, and finally through conventional narrative.
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» See also 37 mentions

English (18)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (20)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Harold at Twice-Told raved about this novel, but it was Emir Kusturica's interets in bringing it to the screen which inspired my reading. I felt it contrived and flat, though the premise is engaging: the prescience of hysteria. The bits that Thomas stole are the best in the book: shame on you, Donald. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
The first few chapters felt like an excuse to write deeply graphic sexual fantasies, but reading on it all ties in. I really liked this book, I need to read it again now I know where it leads so I can get the full picture. My favourite book I've read this year. ( )
1 vote MrLloydSpandex | May 18, 2016 |
Freud + young woman patient; 20 years analysis
tragic

It is a dream of electrifying eroticism and inexplicable violence, recounted by a young woman to her analyst, Sigmund Freud. It is a horrifying yet restrained narrative of the Holocaust. It is a searing vision of the wounds of our century, and an attempt to heal them. Interweaving poetry and case history, fantasy and historical truth-telling, The White Hotel is a modern classic of enduring emotional power that attempts nothing less than to reconcile the notion of individual destiny with that of historical fate.
1 vote | christinejoseph | Aug 26, 2015 |
This is a story of eroticism and inexplicable violence, recounted by a young woman to her analyst, Sigmund Freud. The book's first three movements consist of the erotic fantasies and case-history of one of the novelist's conception of Sigmund Freud's female patients, overlapping, expanding, and gradually turning into almost normal narrative. But then the story takes a different course with the convulsions of the century, and becomes a testament of the Holocaust, harrowing and chillingly authentic. Only at the end does the fantasy element return, pulling together the earlier themes into a kind of benediction. One aspect that I found interesting was the use of the epistolary form with postcards from the fictional hotel guests included as part of the narrative.
Ultimately it is a vision of the wounds of the 20th century, and an attempt to heal them. ( )
1 vote jwhenderson | May 24, 2012 |
It's funny how sometimes you end up doing things in themes - I read this book shortly after watching David Cronenburg's new film about Freud and Jung, and also after reading Primo Levi - so Judaism and psychoanalysis coming together in this book which centres around a female singer, a 'case study' of Freud, and a central European/Russian Jew in the 1930s. It's a fascinating read; it starts with two different meditations on feminine sexuality and the erotic, very circular and repetitive, capable of reinterpretation in a myriad of different ways, by Freud and also by Anna the subject - but who owns the analysis - the analyst or the analysand - the male authority or the female subject? The more linear narrative, that takes us into the ghetto and the slaughterhouse, into the dark heart of man's inhumanity, brings fantasy against a dark reality of group psychosis. Is analysis and self knowledge just an egotistical indulgence?
1 vote otterley | Apr 29, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
What ''The White Hotel'' sets out to perform, clearly, is the diagnosis of our epoch through the experience of an individual; and the highest praise I can give it is that for some time it comes close to achieving that goal. Indeed, the opening sections of the novel are so authoritative and imaginatively daring that I quickly came to feel I had found the book, that mythical book, that would explain us to ourselves.
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas, D. M.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dielemans, WimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcellino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Till, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
We had fed the heart on fantasies,
The heart's grown brutal from the fare;
More substance in our enmities
Than in our love.... 
                                  -W. B. Yeats
     Meditations in Time of Civil War
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It is a dream of electrifying eroticism and inexplicable violence, recounted by a young woman to her analyst, Sigmund Freud. It is a horrifying yet restrained narrative of the Holocaust. It is a searing vision of the wounds of our century, and an attempt to heal them. Interweaving poetry and case history, fantasy and historical truth-telling, "The White Hotel" is a modern classic of enduring emotional power that attempts nothing less than to reconcile the notion of individual destiny with that of historical fate.
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