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The White Hotel Paperback – 3 Jun 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; New edition edition (3 Jun. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753809257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753809259
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 180,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

A novel of searing eroticism and sensuality set against the broad sweep of twentieth-century history, the Booker Prize shortlisted THE WHITE HOTEL is a modern classic.

From the Back Cover

'Remarkable and original . . . there is no novel to my knowledge which resembles this in technique or ideas. It stands alone' Graham Greene

'A novel of blazing imaginative and intellectual force' Salman Rushdie

'Astonishing . . . A forthright sensuality mixed with a fine historical feeling for the nightmare moments in modern history, a dreamlike fluidity and quickness' John Updike

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 the twentieth 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.

ISBN: 978-0-7538-0925-9

Price: 8.99

Category: Fiction

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In February 1982 I took my first edition hardback copy of The White Hotel to a pub in north London where I saw DM Thomas read from his novel. Afterwards he signed my book. I have never forgotten meeting him. I have read hundreds of novels since my first reading of The White Hotel in 1981, yet none have quite matched the intensity, imagination or sheer daring of this particular story. For anyone who is familiar with Freud's writings, it is sheer poetry to read Thomas's ingenious passages based on the Professor himself. Freud simply comes alive on the pages! It is difficult to write anything new about the holocaust, but The White Hotel has managed to. I believe that a movie is in the making as I write, but I don't think anything will quite match the sparing prose or the moving undercurrents of this book. Be afraid. Be very afraid. But it's worth reading it through to the end so that you can recall the final pages, as I do now, with a sense of sorrow and admiration.
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Format: Paperback
I could throw around superlatives and they would not have much impact. Too many reviews are written about mediocre books that one would think them, from the reviewers reaction, modern masterpieces. "Flawlessly-rendered scenes of incomparably lyrical, powerful, acute, seamless, ineffable, gorgeous, unassailable, tender, dynamic, lush, titillating, cerebral, divine, a libidinous, self-revelatory paean to the inexpressible in art and life that packs an emotional wallop!," or some such phrase.
Sometimes a person just has to come right out and say "This one grabbed me by the rear," and let it go at that. This is a book that really has to be experienced first-hand. My only word of advice is not to give up on the book too soon. It's absolutely unclear in the first 40 or 50 pages where Thomas is taking you and he doesn't present too promising a train ride at that stage. Settle in for the journey. Look out the window and watch as the landscape starts becoming more recognizable. The landmarks with which you thought you were earlier familiar, start revealing themselves in entirely new patterns. For this is a novel about revelation, more than anything else. Readers just have to trust that "all will be revealed" by novel's end, and it is, magnificently.
Thomas performs a near-miraculous feat in this novel. Reading The White Hotel is akin to looking through a an extremely high-powered telescope and what at first looks likes fuzzy, indiscreet blurs, become unbelievably colorful and complex nebulae and galaxies as the instrument's focus is adjusted. The book begins with a long poem, full of erotic imagery and near-incoherent description, that we are startled to learn is written by a woman.
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1 Comment 40 of 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
This brilliant and sometimes brutal book combines fragments of narratives to give us a compelling tale that spans twentieth century Europe. Building on Freud's theories of dreams, eros and thanatos, and the practice of psychoanalysis, it expands outwards from the individual to a whole culture, from an excavation of the past to a glimpse of the future, and from dream to prophecy.

Based on Freud's case studies, and the historical documentation of the massacre at Babi Yar (Babi Yar ), this draws a disturbing picture of Lisa Erdman from her life in 1920s Vienna when she is a patient of Freud's, to her presence in Kiev in 1941 when the Nazis tried to exterminate all Jews from the city.

The link between Lisa/Anna's story and the holocaust is a muted one which creeps up on us as the book progresses, and that Freud himself, of course, was forced to flee Vienna for sanctuary in London in 1939 is kept in the background.

To Thomas's credit he manages to find a kind of catharsis with which to end this book, though that doesn't - and shouldn't - make parts of it almost unbearable reading.

So this isn't light or easy reading though it is very accessible. I first read this as a rather precocious teenager and don't think I had the maturity or knowledge then to really appreciate it. This is haunting, difficult and brilliantly audacious - highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
This book has come back to haunt me- several weeks after closing out on the third reading - it's so stimulating it demands reading again and again.
It's an astonishing parabable of the first half of the last century.
Fascinating and disturbing - graphically violent and sexually explicit.
A fable of incredible depth - surreal and symbolic - mixing historical fact with fiction.
A blending of dark fantasy with psychological insight.
Written in prophetic prose with ominous poetry - it is phantasmorgorical yet convincingly real.
Hallucinatory, dark and magical - unimaginable but believible.
A tragedy unfolds - telling the tale of the gradual demise and eventual degradation of a woman in an increasingly evil world.
Charting her psychosomatic illness, her brief joys and continuous forebodings - her constant sense of doom.
Occassionally harrowing - always rewarding.
If you found this book enthralling - I'm sure you'll be spellbound by Styron's 'Sophie's Choice' and Kosinki's 'Painted Bird' too.
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