The Hotel
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The Hotel

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  80 ratings  ·  14 reviews
These were the balmy days of the 1920s. The Hotel was a comfortable hotel on the Italian Riviera, run for prosperous English visitors. It was a closed world of wealth and a setting for the inexhaustable comedy of casual personal relationships among a variety of "nice" people.
Paperback, 175 pages
Published March 1st 1988 by Penguin Books (first published 1927)
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Ellen
Another excellent novel by Elizabeth Bowen. The main gist of the book is commentary on the British upper-class society and it's prejudices and problems caused by this. The story is about British travelers who are staying in a hotel on the Italian coast and their interactions.

The characters are well-drawn, with both men and women equally well portrayed. There is romance, friendship, and much more going on in the book, and it will keep you reading. Bowen's style is lovely, and her descriptions oft...more
Maire
This is a quiet book. There is definitely still some plot action, but mostly Bowen chooses to focus on developing the interior thoughts of the main characters. I turn to a Bowen book when I want beautifully constructed sentences, thoughtful interior monologues (and dialogues too) that just always hit the nail on the head, and an exquisite sense of place and time. However, these qualities just do not lend themselves to a speedy read. Each chapter and page is meant to be read slowly and inquisitiv...more
Cecily
Sometimes described as a 1920s Jane Austen (bit of a stretch), but I see more likeness to Anita Brookner. Relatively light, character rather than plot-driven, but some intriguing and well observed social insights and very unexpected metaphors. One or two grating phrases, but far more brilliant ones.

Upper middle class Brits staying in a Mediterranean hotel. A little confusing at first when you encounter Mrs X and Jane, but don't immediately realise or remember that they are one and the same.
Amy
Probably more of a 3.5 but I feel bad giving Elizabeth Bowen less than four stars because she is awesome and I think more people should read her.

But seriously...what is happening here? I love passionate yet unspoken love affairs where two people express their fervent love for one another solely by exchanging tortured looks. Preferably while wearing dinner jackets and evening gowns. But this was just a little too unspoken in that there were significant portions where I could only guess at what w...more
Victoria Mixon
I've got to say, the abstractions can make her difficult to read. When there's a young teen and his father on the bed next to you hyucking at the top of their lungs over the Marx Brothers, "this collapse had its austere fitness" is just a bunch of blithering.

But when you're reading in peace & quiet, there's such a wonderful, insightful skew on reality to almost everything Bowen put into words.

Plus, Veronica Lawrence, not the heroine of The Hotel but now my personal heroine? "As a matter of f...more
Mary
A wonderful book so evocative of the era of the 1920's.
Set on the Italian Riviera, a cast of characters who are staying in the hotel.
The bathroom scene was so funny and typical of a time before en-suites!
I loved it!
Sharon
I bogged down in this one. Couldn't get interested in the characters. Didn't finish.
Angela Mcpherson
An interesting book with some lovely passages, but patchy to follow and sometimes confusing. All became clear at the end. Feel that this book will pay re-reading as I did get frustrated at times and perhaps glossed over some parts without realising their full significance as I lost track easily. Perhaps explained by this being her first published novel as later works I have very much enjoyed.
Nick
I was wanting to love her -- lesbian! Early 20th-century! Something of a classic. But this took me FOREVER to get through. I was bored, and yet it was completely up my alley: sea resort hotel populated by upper-middle class British people. Comedy of manners. But not so funny or interesting, alas.
Karen
This book started out splendidly for me, I rushed through the first third but got bogged down in the middle. Bowen's language takes some getting used to and some of it felt a bit convoluted to me. Still, some interesting ideas, and I liked the end. I'll try her again.
Mary Lou
A selection of the English middle classes are 'over-wintering' in a hotel on the Italian Riviera in the 1920 s

This is stunning- wry, incisive, quite cruel with great insight. Not a bit dated. The characters are superb and the language incredible.
Kate


Love the intricacies of characterisation and plotting. Her prose is not yet sharp and wonderful like in her later novels, but it is after all her first. I thoroughly enjoyed this.
Fred
Bowen's first book - perhaps should have been a long short story… superb command of language.
Lauren
Dec 15, 2007 Lauren added it
Shelves: worthrereading
Not the easiest or best Bowen, but I do love the place this book brings me.
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Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen, CBE was an Anglo-Irish novelist and short story writer.
More about Elizabeth Bowen...
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