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Hotel de Dream

3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  572 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
A biographical fantasia, White's latest imagines the final days of the poet and novelist Stephen Crane (The Red Badge of Courage), who died of TB at age 28 in 1900. At the same time, White also imagines and writes The Painted Boy, a work that he has Crane say he began in 1895, but burned after warnings from a friend. Crane dictates a fresh start on the story to his common- ...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published 2008 by Bloomsbury (first published January 1st 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,129)
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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
Sep 02, 2009 Grady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sian Lile-Pastore
This is our reading group book and reading group is tomorrow so I'm totally living on the edge.
If this hadn't been something I had to read I would probably have given up on it - it just didn't grab me and I wasn't crazy about the style of writing, but.. but, by the end I found parts of it really interesting. The thing I enjoyed the most was the double narrative - Stephen Crane is dying and writing a book - so half of the novel is about that, and then the other half of it is the story that Crane
I haven’t read anything by Stephen Crane – tried, but it was one of his less known novels and it didn’t suck me in, maybe I’ll return to it – but he seems a decent human being. I liked him in this book, and his wife Cora too. The writing was good when it dealt with the Cranes, worse when doing the Elliott part.

The book itself was something of a problem. It was too short. I expected more of, well, everything: Cora, the publishing milieu, James, Conrad et al on one side, and more of Elliott on the
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
Ann Herendeen
Aug 19, 2011 Ann Herendeen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-recently
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
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
Mar 08, 2011 Erastes rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay-historical
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
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
Jan 16, 2008 Lawrence rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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."
Nov 03, 2015 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure why, but I have never much connected with Edmund White's writing. It wasn't for lack of trying. I have started more than a few of his books but soon lost interest. I managed to get through "A Boy's Own Story", which had its moments, but perhaps I just found it a little too much like my own discomfiting, sexually confused boyhood. I discovered Mr. White's memoir "The Last Symphony" and it was like being at a very long dinner party in which everyone was trying to impress one another w ...more
Jun 09, 2014 C.W. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 11, 2008 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 02, 2012 Gael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

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
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
May 06, 2015 Benjy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read widely in the "ganymede butt-boy buggaree" genre and am predisposed to a fondness for it. This, however, has to be one of the more slight entries in the annals of historical underage sodomy fiction. Which isn't to say I'm a size queen; the book felt over long at its low-200 pages, leaving this reader to sigh as he waited for it to finish up so at least sleep could come.

We eavesdrop on a dying Stephen Crane imagining a autumn-bear/spring-twink romance with his last few synapse firings,
David Freeland
Dec 02, 2009 David Freeland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Julie Failla Earhart
I picked up Hotel de Dream because I’d read that it was a great read and that it was a forerunner to the popular woman-behind-the-man novels that are so popular right now (think The Paris Wife by Paula McClain or The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin). Plus it had an extra bonus of having a novel-within-a-novel (Margaret Atwood’s The Assassins). I just love those types of books.

Hotel de Dream’s featured couple is Stephen and Cora Crane. Stephen is twenty-eight years-old and is dying of tubercul
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.
Jean-Paul Walshaw-Sauter
Jan 07, 2015 Jean-Paul Walshaw-Sauter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A fictional novel about the last days of the real life American author Stephen Crane in which he dictates his last literary work to his "wife" Cora Crane while on his deathbed. White uses his excellent biographical skills, his phantasy for the novel within the novel and his exquisite language to masterly create a beautiful belle époque New York novel.
Louis Profeta
Aug 14, 2011 Louis Profeta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Old, damp Sussex Castle, Stephan Crane, on his death bed from TB at age 26. He the author of The Red Badge of Courage has retreated to England with wife Cora, to avoid gossip about her past as a proprietress of a Florida bordello, the Hotel de Dream.

Very well written by Edmund White, previously wrote a study of Proust.
Maughn Gregory
Aug 05, 2010 Maughn Gregory rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, lgbt
Two heart-breaking stories in one: the final months of the life of iconic American author Stephen Crane, and the novel he is trying to finish before he dies, about a New York banker, family man who falls in love with a boy prostitute. White is a beautiful, daring, inventive writer, wonderful to read.
May 28, 2012 Dominic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book really impressed me. The historical elements combined with the fictional narrative seamlessly. I enjoyed both the New York story and the London story equally.
John Fuller
Mar 26, 2014 John Fuller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Patrick Ryan
Mar 10, 2014 Patrick Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Who but Edmund White could bring Stephen Crane to life--even as Crane is dying? A wonderful novel about art, desire, and New York.
Sep 13, 2008 Isabella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! THis book keeps you at edge of your seat. It takes place in New York in the 1930's. Can't get better than that.
Joanne hale
Sep 29, 2012 Joanne hale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 21, 2011 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Murat Aydogdu
Aug 13, 2015 Murat Aydogdu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I quite liked this book. It is really a story within a story where an American writer living his last days in Europe decides to write a novel about the love affair between a married banker and an underage male prostitute, with his wife's help.
I liked the back and forth between the last days of the writer and the story unfolding. I'd recommend it.

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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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