Hotel du Lac
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Hotel du Lac

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  7,700 ratings  ·  404 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 psudonym. When her life begins to resemble the plots of her own novels, h...more
Paperback, First Vintage Contemporaries Edition, 192 pages
Published October 3rd 1995 by Vintage Books (first published 1984)
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Booker Prize Winners
28th out of 48 books — 1,310 voters
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women writers
45th out of 453 books — 119 voters

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Community Reviews

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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...more
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...more
May 25, 2007 Eric rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
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.
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
CoffeeBook Chick
Hotel du Lac, by Anita Brookner surprised me. The first forty or so pages, while beautifully written, were a tad tough to meander through at times. But then, oh then, all of a sudden, and at some point I can't recall, I was quite happy -- it pulled me in and although it's a quiet and contemplative story, it was really quite interesting and I felt at home with it.

Edith Hope is a romance writer who writes under another name -- she's accomplished, but to be honest, she writes about feelings and eve...more
K.D. Absolutely
Mar 15, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.D. by: 1984 Booker Prize
Shelves: booker, drama, sad, feminist
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...more
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
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
Sep 09, 2014 Lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lisa by: Booker Prize Yahoo group
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jakey Gee
(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...more
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."

Hotel du Lac seems like a book from the 1920s-50...more
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
"Hotel Du Lac" is at once a sad and celebratory novel. I never think of it as celebratory, as Edith the main character doesn't seem the type to celebrate, but in her own way I believe this story ends with her version of just that. By all conventions, Edith is a sad woman, writing romance novels to fill the void in her life that should be filled by a husband, children, etc. The novel is written from Edith's perspective and it does seem at first that even she believes herself to be beyond the symp...more
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.
A lovely, brutally honest novel with beautiful, effortless (to read) prose and a character I can identify with.
Luisa Fer
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
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...more
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
James Murphy
Moonrise over the lake, no matter if it's a pale one as I expected here, is always interesting. The moon is dependable. It regulates and comforts and completes our day in a satisfying way. So we notice it at first, how it balloons up plumply or slices the sky as a crescent. But once it's arrived we know its curve and features too well. We tend to allow it to sail on steadily over the lake until its well-worn groove takes it above our effortless line of sight. Occasionally, though, a combination...more
I kept wanting to check out of this dreary hotel early and I confess I skimmed the last third of the book. Tiresome, unpleasant guests and an equally tiresome protagonist. The hotel's veal-colored walls and the protagonist's veal-colored dreams filled me with utter ennui.

Memo to self: run, do not walk, from the next Booker Prize winning book that crosses your path.
The Hotel du Lac is closed. Try the Splendide.
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
A disturbing book that was at the same time a pleasure to read. We begin when Edith Hope commences her stay at the Hotel du Lac, a luxury hotel, prideful of the fact that it is the place people go when they need a deep rest. Brookner's prose perfectly encapsulates the mood as Edith stands before her window looking out on a grey day:

"Edith Hope, a writer of romantic fiction under a more thrusting name, remained standing at the window, as if an access of good will could pierce the mysterious opaci...more
A very quiet book, which nevertheless seethes with the sublimated emotion of women fundamentally outside of the marriage market of their day. Brookner's protagonist, the almost too-obviously named Edith Hope, sees herself as a kind of Virginia Woolf (an apt comparison in some ways, even to the tone of the writing in places), but Brookner's prose is less spare than Woolf's, and her character ultimately is more raw, more emotionally open, and even more sensible. Although a quick read, this isn't a...more
I have read every fiction work of the author with the exception of her ebook, At the Hairdressers. While this book covers much of the usual terrain, the main character, Edith Hope seemed a bit different than the usual Brookner protagonist. Edith Hope is a bit more worldly and in fact, is more engaged in the world than in most of her books where the protagonist often resides in a small flat and spends her time doing basic shopping and having very limited social interactions other than with a rela...more
Intelligent, reflective, understated portrayal of a voyage of self-discovery. A charming and thoughtful novel which I'll no doubt read again.
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
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?).

Hotel du Lac 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 com...more
Louise Leetch
I'm a glutton for punishment. I swear I'll keep reading the Booker prize winners until I find one I CAN read.--AHA! This one is it. Not only is it readable, it's a great book. A woman's view of what women can be, long overdue even back in 1984 when the book was written. Perhaps still overdue. It's a little bit of Room With A View plus “Room of One’s Own”.

It's the end of the season so the guests at Hotel Du Lac are sparse. Edith, a romance novel writer, has been shuffled off to Switzerland by wel...more
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500 Great Books B...: Hotel du Lac - Anita Brookner 1 2 Jul 12, 2014 09:56PM  
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  • Moon Tiger
  • How Late It Was, How Late
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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, "Fr...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.” 65 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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