- 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)
The White Hotel Paperback – 3 Jun 2004
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More About the Author
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Found in a note I'd made long ago, found it on amazon and was delighted to be in a position to order itPublished on 9 Oct. 2013 by Warwick Diswell Smith
Truly a masterpiece. Has all the ingredients of a modern classic and a lot more besides. It left me spellbound.Published on 7 Oct. 2013 by JohnsonG
I have always meant to read this but never got round to it. Now that I have I am rather amazed. Not what I expected and I will have to read it again before I begin to really... Read morePublished on 14 May 2013 by PT
D M Thomas description of coping with the horrors of the concentration camp sometimes confuses and often horrifies with it's explicit descriptions of sexual behaviour and gory... Read morePublished on 6 Jan. 2013 by Ms. G. Darwent
This came second on the 1981 Man Booker list so I was
expecting great things. It is indeed a very clever
book but I found the imagined sex rather sickening. Read more
The other reviewers have given a concise and accurate appraisal; I just wanted to add my thoughts on the book. Read morePublished on 21 May 2011 by H. Tee