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Hotel du Lac

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  11,284 Ratings  ·  646 Reviews
"Impeccably written and suffused with pleasing wit."--Newsweek

In the novel that won her the Booker Prize and established her international reputation, Anita Brookner finds a new vocabulary for framing the eternal question "Why love?" It tells the story of Edith Hope, who writes romance novels under a pseudonym. When her life begins to resemble the plots of her own novels,
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Paperback, First Vintage Contemporaries Edition, 182 pages
Published October 3rd 1995 by Vintage Books (first published 1984)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Paul Bryant
A very slow, mournful novel set in an end-of-season hotel which may - just may - be a metaphor or sumpin. Everything happens in slowmo - walks, meals, coffee, tea, cakes, clothes (pages of those), more walks, mothers, daughters, gloomy memories, walks, talks, a small dog, gauntness, autumnal colours, pallor, crepuscularity, more damned walks, more wretched meals, the god damned dog again, more clothes, and on p 143 this:

"my patience with this little comedy is wearing a bit thin"

It's a ghastly vi
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knig
Mar 20, 2012 knig rated it liked it
And another one bites the dust. Another moping, myopic, single, disconsolate, unfulfilled, disenchanted woman shuffling the mortal coils resignedly and patiently waiting for until her numbers up.

Ok, but I am racking my brains: is there ANY book out there about a male spinster? Not a bachelor: that image implies a certain Sherlock Holmsean contentedness with the regularity of life, a smug sense of quiet self satisfaction that all is alright with the world, at precisely the moment when a woman ISN
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Eric
May 25, 2007 Eric rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone, especially writers
A quite book, beautifully so. The simple prose is deceiving--the book is not simple, but elegant and superbly crafted. The words wrap you like the mist that weaves in and out of the landscape. A story of an older woman on a vacation alone. Loved it.

Anyone who has ever contemplated or experienced the noisy quiet that happens when you are by yourself but surrounded by others who are all there together.

Please read it.
Cynthia
May 07, 2009 Cynthia rated it it was amazing
This book cut WAY too close to the bone for me. I can't decide if I want to read everything she's ever written or banish her forever.
Paul
Jan 24, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm almost sure the title of this book is a pun (which gets it points from me; I can't resist a pun) as every character in the book, especially the protagonist, is definitely lacking something or other.

If you're the sort of person who tends to complain that 'nothing happens' in a book, I would avoid this one. This is an introspective, reflective novel; it's all about the inner journey, not the physical one.

Our protagonist, Edith, is an author, specialising in romances (quite low-brow romances is
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Andrea
Edith Hope is a romance novelist who is banished by her friends to the Hotel du Lac on Lake Geneva in order to atone for a transgression, the details of which we don't learn until well into the second half of the book. At the hotel, it is approaching the end of the season and only a handful of long-term guests remain. Edith establishes a routine of writing and spending time with the other guests. Then along comes Mr Neville.

I am quite bemused that this won the Booker in 1984. It's such a simple,
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Brad
Jul 25, 2010 Brad rated it it was ok
I ate dinner at an historical park once, and when I think of that meal I always remember being pleased with the place setting and the table linens. The table cloth was crisp and white, the silverware was highly polished, but I can't remember the feel of the fabric or the design of the forks and spoons and knife. What little I remember accumulates into nice. It was all nice.

Nice but mostly forgettable.

And that's all I'm left with when I think of Brookner's Booker Prize winning Hotel Du Lac. It wa
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Josie
Jun 28, 2008 Josie rated it really liked it
Shelves: hotel-books
About how being coupled allows one to relax and behave badly, and the good behavior expected of single women. The main character is brittle and lonely, and the tenor of everything is like "overcooked veal" but still there is something about the way the character feels uncomfortable in the world, the way she is constantly constructing an edifice to protect herself from it, that is universal. There is also a remarkable perception about the ways women engage in frippery to exclude men, for example: ...more
Antonomasia
Why this, controversially, won the 1984 Booker:
"I have managed," writes the old devil [Richard Cobb, chairman of the judges, to his friend, fellow historian Hugh Trevor-Roper], "to keep Martin Amis and Angela Carter and something something de Terán off the shortlist and manoeuvred so that BALLARD did not get the prize to the FURY of the media, the critics and Ladbrokes. So I have done a little NEGATIVE good."
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011...

Hotel du Lac seems like a book from the 1920s-50
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Maria
May 19, 2009 Maria rated it really liked it
This is a well-written book for people who enjoy the low-key, thoughtful sort of lonely protagonist who appears quiet, almost withdrawn, out-of-step, who has depth and strength and yes, sadness, and for Anglophiles everywhere who mourn the passing of good manners. Among other things, Brookner focuses on character and the distinct nature of the woman alone and the way she is seen by society, in a sometimes delightfully dry, beautiful prose. A beautiful book.
K.D. Absolutely
Mar 15, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it it was ok
Recommended to K.D. by: 1984 Booker Prize
Shelves: booker, drama, feminist, sad
I can't believe that this book won over J. G. Ballard's Empire of the Sun (4 stars) in 1984's Booker contest. Or I just expected too much from this book because I first read and tremendously enjoyed that Ballard? So the last time I was in Ohio in 2009, I decided to buy this brand new copy of Hotel du Luc because this made Ballard asked the question why the 5 judges, led by Professor Richard Cobb (1917-1996), denied him of that year's Booker.

Maybe Cobb was a historian? Maybe he thought that ther
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Kathryn
I liked the sound of this one, however I didn’t feel that it ultimately delivered. It felt too slow and had too many words describing things I didn’t care about. I wanted to know why Edith, the narrator, was in the hotel in Switzerland, but it just seemed to take too long to get there - even though my copy of the book (a large print edition) was only just over 200 pages long!
Terri
Jan 21, 2017 Terri rated it it was amazing
I am sorry I waited so long to read a book by the great British author, Anita Brookner. If you haven't read her works, you are in for a treat. Next up for me is reading her book "Making Things Better" (The Next Big Thing) which was longlisted for the Booker prize. "Hotel du Lac" won the Man Booker prize in 1984. It deserves it. The novel is about a woman who is exiled to a Swiss hotel to let things die down after a scandal. After bittersweet interactions with other hotel members, she begins to s ...more
Lisa
Aug 07, 2016 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lisa by: Booker Prize Yahoo group
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie
Feb 11, 2009 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
In college, the women in the Chamber Singers group I belonged to sang:

"An ape, a lion, a fox and an ass,
Do show forth man's life as it were in a glass.
For apeish they are till twenty-and-one,
And after than lions till forty be gone.
Then wicked as foxes till three-score-and-ten,
And after that asses, and so no more men."

I can think of no comparable rhyme for women. Traditionally, a woman's life is divided into three stages: the maiden, the wife, and the crone. Yet compare these three stages to the
...more
Vonia
Pretty much a novella, but I will say a well-written one. I have not read Anita Brookner's work before, so the immersiveness of the text, as well as the poetic descriptions were unexpected. The story is very simple, yet Brookner does not make it seem so. She even manages to create suspense around the reasons for Edith's mysterious exile. Although that was innovative, it was anticlimactic for me to discover it all came down to Edith not having been married at her age & not walking to the alta ...more
Jesse
Sep 24, 2012 Jesse rated it liked it
A novel that seems to play out like some forgotten old black and white European film projected a few frames a second slower than it should be, so every gesture and every word seems to bear a heavy, languorous weight. Indeed, one might be tempted to call it a parody if it for even for a moment wavered in it seriousness, but it never does. Brookner writes in dense, lengthy paragraphs that seem like blocks of ice that must be fastidiously chipped through, reflecting the general mindset of the intro ...more
Katerina
Местами очень хорошо, местами ужасно, местами напоминает роман "Что делать?". Больше всего понравилось, как героиня приезжает в тихий швейцарский отель и так же тихо сидит в гостиной и со смешанным чувством гадливости, ужаса, зависти и восхищения завороженно рассматривает эксцентричных и богатых постояльцев – чудесные сцены для тех, кто не может представить себе, как в раньше жили без инстаграма.
Neil
Dec 05, 2016 Neil rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016-reads
A woman arrives at a hotel and is gradually introduced to the other guests. She makes the rounds talking to each of them, gets the low down on some from others, hears a bit about their background. For the first half of this book, I thought I was reading a Miss Marple mystery. I was waiting for a scream and a dead body. I did get the scream at one point, which, for me, was the highlight of the book because it seemed like the author knew the impression she was creating and then joked about it with ...more
Jakey Gee
Jan 16, 2013 Jakey Gee rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
(I stayed at the Hotel du Lac in Vevey for work once and nicked as much stationery as I could, then set to reading this after ages looking for a second hand copy. Finally got to reading it after many months).

Small but super-concentrated.

For something so short, it asks big questions about ideals and compromises. It's a pretty profound meditation too on what it is to be a women (like I'd know) and full of strong portraits of different ways of doing that. We've got a spectrum here, from the ‘kept
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Britta Böhler
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nick Davies
Feb 03, 2016 Nick Davies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
A slow-burning, beautifully described, intelligent and introverted novel - Edith is an author spending time at the titular and strange Hotel du Lac in the wake of some kind of (later detailed) social catastrophe, and during her stay she is brought to consider various aspects of self-image and romance and behaviour. It's a wonderfully uncertain sort of novel, which feels important yet somewhat intangible - very believable as a Booker Prize winner in the same way that some others (i.e. 'The Sea' a ...more
Yan
Jan 20, 2016 Yan rated it it was ok
this was so disappointing; i loved 'look at me' but this was rly limp n fakedeep. and this line made me laugh: 'women, only women, and I do so love the conversation of men' i mean cmon no woman in the history of ever has thought that
Barbara
Jan 21, 2013 Barbara rated it liked it
Again I dare to be different in my rating of a book. I cannot fault Anita Brookner because her writing is impeccable. Her lovely vocabulary and her descriptive passages are there to be admired and mentally viewed. Perhaps the pacing of this story was too slow for my tastes. Yet, it was in keeping with the scene of this story.

Hotel du Lac is "a stolid and dignified building, used to welcoming the prudent, the well-to-do, the retired, the self-effacing, the respected patrons of an earlier era of
...more
James
Jan 14, 2009 James rated it really liked it
Reading this novel was my introduction to the world of Anita Brookner. Having started with Hotel du Lac, her Booker prize-winning novel, I moved on to others including Providence and Incidents in the Rue Laugier. But it was experiencing her distinctive prose style and characters with complicated emotional lives that drew me in. Hotel is written mostly in the form of musings of the protagonist and has very little overt activity. But her life is changing, partly at the suggestion of her friends an ...more
Teresa
Nov 16, 2009 Teresa rated it it was amazing
A lovely, brutally honest novel with beautiful, effortless (to read) prose and a character I can identify with.
Sketchbook
Sep 29, 2012 Sketchbook rated it it was ok
The Hotel du Lac is closed. Try the Splendide.
Tony
Dec 31, 2009 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brookner, Anita. HOTEL DU LAC. (1984). ****. This was Ms. Brookner’s fourth novel, and won the Booker Prize in its year of publication. As seems to be the case with her books, the protagonist is a woman, Edith Hope. She is “in disgrace,” and has been hurried off to a proper Swiss hotel, Hotel du Lac, to think things over and take charge of her life. She is a writer of romance novels under a pen name and has done very well at it. We don’t learn what her ‘disgrace’ is until about halfway through t ...more
Luisa Fer
Aug 31, 2010 Luisa Fer rated it it was amazing
How to talk about a book you've loved so much? It is the most difficult task. How to transmit to others the froth of pleasure in which you sank while reading it?
How to explain that the language was perfect, the scenes, the characters, the feeling, the longing, the pychology, all of it has pierced through almost three decades since it was written?

How to explain that this particular author is considered among the most boring and plotless ever to have walked the earth, how can she be so misunders
...more
Deea
Oct 09, 2014 Deea rated it liked it
Shelves: man-booker-prize
Why do people marry if they are not bound by love? It's not only the cultures that have pre-arranged marriages that I am talking about. I am talking about countries where not getting married when you are a certain age is perceived as weird. Girls in their mid-twenties and late twenties are perceived as weird if not married yet and people consider they have to make a greater effort to be socially accepted and not seen as spinsters. I am ashamed to say that this is the general mentality in the cou ...more
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Anita Brookner published her first novel, A Start In Life in 1981. Her most notable novel, her fourth, Hotel du Lac won the Man Booker Prize in 1984. Her novel, The Next Big Thing was longlisted (alongside John Banville's, Shroud) in 2002 for the Man Booker Prize. She has published over 25 works of fiction, notably: Strangers (2009) shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Fraud (1992) ...more
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“Good women always think it is their fault when someone else is being offensive. Bad women never take the blame for anything.” 80 likes
“My idea of absolute happiness is to sit in a hot garden all, reading, or writing, utterly safe in the knowledge that the person I love will come home to me in the evening. Every evening.'

'You are a romantic, Edith,' repeated Mr Neville, with a smile.

'It is you who are wrong,' she replied. 'I have been listening to that particular accusation for most of my life. I am not a romantic. I am a domestic animal. I do not sigh and yearn for extravagant displays of passion, for the grand affair, the world well lost for love. I know all that, and know that it leaves you lonely. No, what I crave is the simplicity of routine. An evening walk, arm in arm, in fine weather. A game of cards. Time for idle talk. Preparing a meal together.”
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