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Hotel du Lac by [Brookner, Anita]
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Hotel du Lac Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Length: 193 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Amazon Review

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.


A classic . . . a book which will be read with pleasure a hundred years from now (Spectator)

A smashing love story. It is very romantic. It is also humorous, witty, touching and formidably clever (The Times)

Hotel du Lac is written with a beautiful grave formality, and it catches at the heart (Observer)

She is one of the great writers of contemporary fiction (Literary Review)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 434 KB
  • Print Length: 193 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (27 May 1999)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RUA54W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,076 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i really enjoyed this book, I didn't think it was dull, but nor did I think it was a delicately painted subtle little thing of beauty. I thought it was really funny, well-observed, and in fact the one person I do agree with is Dominic Swayne. Although I'm sad to hear that she never wrote such comedy again; I was imagining there was some rich vein there for me to tap into now. I'm just amazed that some readers didn't get the joke, I'm really amazed. I guess they just read it as a serious, pompous novel without the profound irony and narratorial skill that, for me, Brookner obviously has.

And for those who don't think it's meant to be funny... what about the little dog that wees on the stairs, and then the hotel manager who just shuts his eyes in disgust, it's such a funny image? What about Penelope, whose bed is covered in hundreds of little cushions "which proclaimed to the world at large 'I am a woman of exceptional femininity"? Eurgh! What about Mr Neville, who tells the heroine he is going to change her, having complained about her dress sense, to which she replies "If all it involves is giving away my cardigan, I feel I should tell you that I have another one at home." It's so dry, and so funny, I think it has a lot in common with Muriel Spark and is very well told and very moving.
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Format: Paperback
I absolutely loved Anita Brookner's 1984 (I was two when this won) Man Booker Winner, seriously loved it. I can easily imagine this becoming a slightly underground classic in the future as the characters and story are just wonderful. Hotel Du Lac is the story of Edith Hope as she takes a break from the world and her writing of mildly successful romance novels. She has, it unfolds, been sent away by her best friend Penelope Milne who she is in disgrace of (along with a fair amount of her social circle) and would only be forgiven if she went to Switzerland to "disappear for a decent length of time and come back older, wiser and properly sorry". If you loved that line, like I did, then you will love all of the wording and wit Anita Brookner provides throughout a mere 180 pages.

Of course you then want to find out just what disgraceful act Edith has been apart of and as the novel and her character develop you soon realise it could be more than one thing. Once she is in the hotel though you also want to learn about all the stories of the other random guests who are staying in Switzerland `out of season'.

There is the fabulous Lady X or `the lady with the noisy dog who smoked endlessly and ate only ice cream and cake' who we learn to love and learn her real name is Monica, sent by her husband to stop eating and loose weight. We also meet Madame De Bonneuil who has been dumped there by her son who visits once a week whilst he and his wife, who hates her, spend all her money and live in her fabulous mansion. There are the fabulous and incredibly wealthy Iris and her daughter Jennifer Pusey who have come merely to shop... endlessly, and drink unbelievable quantities of champagne and gossip.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I must be the only person who didn’t read Hotel du Lac in 1984, and for any other shirkers out there like me I can tell you that you need to make amends, right now.
It’s literally a ‘voyage and return’ novel in which the fleeing Edith - fleeing from what we discover about half way through the book – begins to take control of her life. She has, it transpires already ‘dealt’ with ‘Geoffrey’, and she eventually deals with ‘Mr Neville’. How she deals with ‘David’ you will have to read right to the very last word to find out!
Brookner is (was sadly since Jan 2016) a master of translating the oddity and commonplace (they are sometimes paradoxically the same thing) of human nature into words. She gives us the rousing “I earn my own money. Money is what you earn when you grow up. I loathe the idea of women prospecting in this way," and the bold "I’m talking about (women) the complacent consumers of men with their complicated but unwritten rules of what is due to them…"
Voyage and return? I suppose I wanted it to go further, I wanted Overcoming the Monster and Rebirth all in the same book but it was 1984…wonder what she’d have made of it if she’d written it now!
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Format: Paperback
Beautifully written, intelligent, reflective, understated and elegiac in tone, with a pervading sadness that runs throughout the novel and her characters' lives - perhaps something that could be said of much of Brookner's fiction? This is a charming and thoughtful novel centred on Edith Hope, a successful middle-aged novelist of romantic fiction. Though a realist about the world of the living, she never denies her heroines the mythical joys of true romantic journeys and endings, who comes to stay at the genteel, select Hotel du Lac, an old world establishment in Switzerland, to reflect on recent events in her life.

Through the course of the novella (it's only 184 pages), Edith comes to engage with the hotel's other residents, all beautifully drawn. There's Monica, with her tiny dog that she passes her hotel food to (she has an eating disorder, and focuses mainly on cakes, coffee and cigarettes to keep her going), while vaguely thinking about her marriage that has come to an impasse; the relentlessly self-obsessed, rich, always-on-display and well-dressed, elegant Mrs Pusey and her shadow daughter, Jennifer (acting as truncated Greek Chorus to Mrs Pusey's endless exclamations about her own life and opinions); stalwart, sad, alone Mme de Bonneuil, dumped by her only son to live for part of each year at the hotel; and Mr Neville, charming, devilish, always insightful, but without sentiment or love, who intrigues Edith and triggers her considering fundamental changes in her life. He does this by questioning her mode of living and her way of thinking about love and relationships and self (he's an advocate of self-interested living only), and proposing marriage (but not love).
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