Hotel de Dream
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Hotel de Dream

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  449 ratings  ·  70 reviews
In a damp, old Sussex castle, American literary phenomenon Stephen Crane lies on his deathbed, wasting away from tuberculosis at the age of twenty-eight. The world-famous author has retreated to England with his wife, Cora, in part to avoid gossip about her ignominious past as the proprietress of an infamous Florida bordello, the Hotel de Dream. In the midst of gathering t...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published January 1st 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 874)
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James
The story of Hotel de Dream: A New York Novel is one of two pairs of lovers, Stephen Crane and his wife Cora and the young prostitute Elliott and his lover Theodore the Banker, who are products of Stephen Crane's literary imagination. In this novel Crane is writing a companion piece to his earlier novel, Maggie, Girl of the Streets, and it is this novel, The Painted Boy, that occupies Crane as he slowly succumbs to the ravages of tuberculosis. What is fascinating is the seamless way that White i...more
Grady
The Painted Boy: Resurrection from the Deathbed of Stephen Crane

Edmund White, gratefully, is a prolific writer, a gifted man of letters who has become one of America's more important authors. While much of Edmund White's oeuvre is about gay life, he does not confine his talent to the one topic: he is a brilliant biographer, a fine man of research, and a poet with prose. HOTEL DE DREAM: A New York Novel is his latest foray into fictional biography and for this reader the book succeeds on every le...more
Christy B
Hotel de Dream is a fictional novel about real life author Stephen Crane. Told during his last days, Crane starts dictating a story he's always wanted to tell: The Painted Boy. Based on an actual painted boy he met a few years earlier, it's the story of a boy and a married man who's obsessed with him.

The story is told from Crane's point-of-view as he lay dying, sometimes reflecting back to the time when he knew the boy; it is also told from the point-of-view of Crane's 'sort of' wife Cora. And...more
Erastes
It’s a book of two halves, really. The first half, with Stephen Crane–who spends the entire book dying–is as slow as a meandering river. Suddenly, the “book within a book” which he’s writing hots up and the pace increases–it’s just that the two don’t really gel with each other. If you had told me two different people had written the book I would have believed you.

It begins with lengthy descriptions of Stephen Crane dying of tuberculosis and living in Engand in preparation for travel to the Black...more
Bob Redmond
Two stories at once: Stephen Crane's dying days, and the story that Stephen Crane dictated from his deathbed. Both are as the author imagined, a big "what if" exercise. I think White would've done better to write the second novel (about a boy prostitute in late 19th-century New York) and then write an essay about the first (Stephen Crane being dragged from England to Germany as he died of TB). The end result is gorgeous writing, intriguing stories, but joined oddly. He called it "Hotel de Dream"...more
Lawrence
I always love Edmund White's ideas for novels, but the novels themselve almost always disappoint me. The novel within the novel just made for two thin stories. Teen prostitutes and transexuals aren't enough to make a story interesting, at least not anymore. Turn of the century details about New York or famous literary figures have been done much better in "The Alienist" or "The Master."
Gary Lee
Out in paperback: 10/14/2008!

After the near-atrocity that was 2007's Chaos collection, White returns with a fantastic novel: a novel that shows he might be through with trying to prove his (quickly waining) relevance to gay fiction, and instead embracing his age and his status of a (albeit, unknown) literary icon.
Hotel de Dream runs with the myth that Stephen Crane -- The Red Badge of Courage -- once wrote a short story based on an (non-sexual) experience he had had with a teenage male prostitut...more
Ann Herendeen
You don't have to be a writer to love this book--but if you are a writer, you'll be entranced by what White does in Hotel de Dream, and horrified by the appropriate but depressing ending.

White imagines the last months of late-19th-century writer Stephen Crane (The Red Badge of Courage) as he's dying, at age 28, of tuberculosis. Crane needs money to leave to his companion, Cora, a former prostitute whom he can't marry--because she's still legally married to her husband. He works doggedly at finis...more
Gael
Hmm.

This was well written, and literary, but I don't think I liked it really.
It is based on the life (well death actually) of a American writer called Stephen Crane - an actual person, although I've never heard of him. He died in 1899, and knew Henry James & Josef Conrad.

The novel tells how he dictates his final novel to his wife, while he is dying of tuberculosis. It's a novel within a novel. The one he dictates would have been very controversial at the end of the 19th century - a story abo...more
C.W.
Edmund White is rightfully considered one of our finest living English-language writers, though his output is not as prolific as others in his cadre. Nevertheless, he has carved an indelible mark for himself in portraying both gay life and history in his works, his prose always luminous and his insights into the foibles of the human condition often profound.

In his deceptively slim novel, "Hotel de Dream", he re-imagines the final days of American literary phenomenon Stephen Crane, who is wasting...more
Disarticulate
Edmund White is one of the most self-obsessed writers I have ever read. Not that this is a criticism of him as a writer but his fictional heroes are basically Edmund White transposed into different fictional situations. Along with three separate memoirs (!) and his novels 'A Boy's Own Story', 'The Married Man', 'Chaos' his collection of short stories, he never really strays away from his central theme: Edmund White.

So it was with real interest that I approached 'Hotel de Dream', a historical nov...more
John Fuller
I'm generally not a fan of fiction that deals with real historic figures, as is the case with this book which chronicles the imagined last days of writer Stephen Crane, but I was intrigued enough by the legend of the lost novel 'Flowers of Asphalt' to read it.

It's interestingly constructed from different viewpoints and with the 'story within a story' where the author imagines the notorious lost tale of the boy prostitute Crane allegedly once encountered. It's not a happy tale - neither the boy's...more
Joanne hale
For this book i am not going to lie, it is well written, wonderful storytelling and something i am glad i read.

i would suggest to those wanting to read this book to read the very back of the book, the explanation by the writer, because it really helped me understand why Mr White took on such a subject.

This book is split into two parts, interwoven, Stephen Crane (a real writer, known for writing "the red badge of courage" lives with his common-law wife and is dying of TB. He meets a male prostitu...more
Tattered Cover Book Store
Gerald says:
There are only a handful of contemporary writers whose command of the English language equals Edmund White's. Unfortunately, occasionally his virtuosity is overmatched to his material and his autobiographical novels about life as a gay man didn't always win this writer the wide audience he deserves.

In picking Stephen Crane, that desolute, prematurely decaying and decidedly American writer, White's virtuosity meets the perfect material. Crane was a master America voice, but also a tru...more
Carol
This is engaging and has lots of offbeat analogies. The story itself is clever. The "writer" of the story is a fictional version of Steven Crane (writer of Red Badge of Courage). Our Crane within the novel writes another story that is also fiction based on a non-fictional character, well non-fictional, that is, to the semi-non-fictional Stephen Crane. You follow? We go back and forth between the two stories throughout the book. one is of Crane dying of TB, the other of a young male prostitute an...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Rumors of Stephen Crane's last, lost work have been around for ages, and they give Edmund White an excellent excuse to practice his well-honed brand of invented history in his 19th novel. Problems arise, however, with the overreaching story within a story. The tale of a country boy turned rent boy may have been shocking at the turn of the last century, but it will raise fewer eyebrows today. And it doesn't do justice to the rich literary talents of Stephen Crane or, for that matter, Edmund White

...more
Mark
An interesting premise for a novel that didn't work for me. Some of White's imagery is wonderful and he keeps his usually ornate style in check. I also liked his thumbnail sketches of the various literary lions who are Crane's contemporaries. The tone of it is also accessible and appealling. However, the novel's constantly shifting focus made the stories difficult to follow because the points of view are too similar. The attempt to imitate Crane's style felt contemporary and false and all period...more
Angie
Dec 21, 2007 Angie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: homosexuals, Calab Carr fans
An interesting take on the life of a well regarded but not necessarily well-known, American author, Stephan Crane. Yes, we've all heard of the Red Badge of Courage, but other than that, can anyone tell us more about Crane?

The story takes place during the final days of Crane's life (he died of consumption in his late twenties). The story's narrative flucuates between his final days and a story that he is dictating to his wife, Cora. The "story within the story" is the most interesting part of Ho...more
Jeff
I'll admit upfront, Edmund White isn't always my favorite gay author. But this novel is quite a gorgeous little thing. Ostensibly the American writer Stephen Crane at one point wrote (or spoke of writing) a book about male prostitution in turn-of-the-century New York City. White creates a fictional world in which Crane, dying of tuberculosis, dictates this piece of fiction to his "wife" hoping it will provide her with some income after his death. White has clearly done his homework, and the sect...more
Rosemary
I liked the Stephen Crane parts of this and found them totally believable. I just couldn't see him writing 'The Painted Boy', the book within a book here. (view spoiler)...more
Djrmel
A fascinating piece of RPF about a novel that Stephen Crane most likely never wrote. During his last days, Crane narrates a final story to his wife about a young prostitute in late 19 century New York and the man who loved him. On the Crane side of this story within a story, several other literary figures make appearances (Henry James and Joseph Conrad most notably), to talk shop with their contemporary and end up giving their opinions about Crane's choice of subject for his last book. White doe...more
Patrick Ryan
Who but Edmund White could bring Stephen Crane to life--even as Crane is dying? A wonderful novel about art, desire, and New York.
Nicholas
Like the previous reviwer I agree it was hugely ambitious to create a Stephen Crane lost story: after all, Crane's prose style - sparse and impressionistic - is as peculiar to Crane as his own fingerprint. White hasn't managed to copy Crane's prose style in anything - not in its brevity and ease of reading, nor in its and voice and mood. Further, I find it odd White creating an fictional account of writing the so-called 'lost' story is being written. Bar the bare bones of Stephen Crane's death,...more
Corey
A beautiful, and beautifully written, re-imagining of Stephen Crane's last days and 'possible' last book.
Joao Vaz
This book displays the last days of a writer in his struggle to finish one last book. He is considered very avant-garde by his peers considering that his final scribblings (The Painted Boy) entail his view over the "inverted" in the turn towards the XX century. We are given sketches of this story: a love affair between a middle aged man and a boy prostitute whose face is tainted with make-up.

Mr White is a good writer, but this book just fell short. Gruesome pedophilic descriptions plus it all b...more
Cara Mcnulty
This is an eerie novelization of Stephen Crane's last days in Sussex, England and Germany and the final story he dictates to Cora, his live in companion, "The Painted Boy," set in the gay underbelly of New York city in the 1890s. The book does give an interesting view to the miseries and splendors of Manhattan at the time, riddled with both luxury and poverty.

Stephen Crane died of tuberculosis, penniless at the age of 28 in sanatorium in the Black Forest.
David Freeland
Is it just me, or does Edmund White keep getting better and better? This fascinating novel about the putative creation of Stephen Crane's "lost" novel about a boy prostitute is marvelously plotted and gripping throughout. There is also a novel-within-the-novel that is every bit as good as the "outside" narrative. At this point, White seems to have stripped away everything unnecessary; every sentence carries meaning. First-rate on every level.
Ruth
An imagination riffing on the last days of Stephen Crane. Dying in London and then Basel, he dictates to Cora, his "wife" a story called The Painted Boy about a boy who is a prostitute. So we have a story within a story here. The small story came alive for me far more easily than the larger story in which it is encased. Somehow I felt at a remove from the tragedy of Crane himself, which is the reason I only gave it 3 stars.

R
Robert Patrick
Oof. What a disappointment. I am a fan of White's and have been for several decades, but I'm afraid that this book, not unlike "Jack Holmes..." left me feeling that White has lost his touch. The dialogue was leaden, the story uninteresting, the use of language hit or miss. You can read my list of complaints here: http://robtpatrick.wordpress.com/2013...
Jen
I thought the book was quite well written and the plot was interesting. The idea that a person can be so fascinated and consumed by another human being and a situation is interesting and I felt that White created a tangible world. The book within the book was more a reflection of the author within the book's views and stance which was a smart way of expressing something that was considered taboo.
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Edmund White's novels include Fanny: A Fiction, A Boy's Own Story, The Farewell Symphony, and A Married Man. He is also the author of a biography of Jean Genet, a study of Marcel Proust, The Flâneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris, and, most recently, his memoir, My Lives. Having lived in Paris for many years, he is now a New Yorker and teaches at Princeton University. He was also a membe...more
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A Boy's Own Story The Beautiful Room is Empty The Flaneur The Married Man Jack Holmes and His Friend

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