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The White Hotel Paperback – 3 Jun 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 27 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 (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A novel of blazing imaginative and intellectual force."--Salman Rushdie
"To describe this novel as spine-tingling in its indescribable poetic effect would be to trivialize its profoundly tragic theme. Say then that it is heart-stunning."--"The New York Times"
"Astonishing . . . elegantly experimental yet quite warm . . . A forthright sensuality mixed with a fine historical feeling for the nightmare moments in modern history, a dreamlike fluidity and quickness."--John Updike, "The New Yorker"
"A dazzler that lingers in the mind."--"People "

A novel of blazing imaginative and intellectual force. Salman Rushdie
To describe this novel as spine-tingling in its indescribable poetic effect would be to trivialize its profoundly tragic theme. Say then that it is heart-stunning. "The New York Times"
Astonishing . . . elegantly experimental yet quite warm . . . A forthright sensuality mixed with a fine historical feeling for the nightmare moments in modern history, a dreamlike fluidity and quickness. John Updike, "The New Yorker"
A dazzler that lingers in the mind. "People "" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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By prisrob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Feb. 2007
Format: Paperback
"Thomas takes us beyond Freud, beyond Eros and Thanatos, and thus challenges the very substance of the Freudian text. Within the analyses and, he suggests, buried within her individual neurosis, is the subtext of history--the Final Solution. And beyond the horror is the transcendent vision of salvation through love in the mythical state of Israel. In this bold, intellectually challenging novel, Thomas goes beyond both history and historical fiction: he explores the shadowy realm of perception and perceiver with breathtaking vision and artistry." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review

'The White Hotel' is an extraordinary book. It was given the highest recommendation by my best friend, and it is a read I will never forget. It is taken from the case history of Lisa Erdman, an early patient of Sigmund Freud; the book explores her case of sexual hysteria and finds the way to self destructiveness. The scenes with Lisa and Dr.Freud are fascinating. They take her back into childhood and into her dreams. Lisa's erotic dreams are almost visions. They are premonitions to Lisa of death and destruction. Freud helps Lisa to resume her normal life as an opera singer, and we are brought into the world of opera as Lisa finds it. She remarries and settles in the Ukraine with her husband and step-son, and then the unraveling begins. Their harrowing adventures will leave you on the edge. As life as Lisa knows it begins to crumble, so do we.

"Lisa's story is told three times. Once, as a long letter of erotic ramblings by a psychotic, once in image steeped poetry, and finally, as narrative prose, in the dry tone of a doctor discussing a case, complete with musings and asides.
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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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