Amanda's Reviews > The White Hotel

The White Hotel by D.M. Thomas
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's review
Jul 01, 2008

it was amazing
Recommended to Amanda by: Ione
Read in July, 2008

Ione, I know you read it, I am 2/3 of the way through so it is coming togethor but what do you think about the placement of the poem in the beginning?...Now it is done and the poem placement works ok- it seems to serve as a shocker to pull the reader in, however I found it a bit jarring, it is such an intimate thing for Lisa but when I read it I didn't even get that she was called Anna to protect her identity yet.

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Ione Yeah, it seemed as if D.M. Thomas wrote all the segments first and then rearranged them. It only made sense when I finished it, and then I almost wanted to read it again, if only to understand the story. You look back and realize that little of the book is objective narrative - everything besides the case study is skewed by Lisa's hallucinations.
I have a pretty high tolerance for shock, but the opening verse and some of the Holocaust passages rattled me to the core. But I'm glad I picked it up again. It's got some really strange and beautiful writing...

She had the feeling that she was no more than a spectre. Herself was unreal, the little boy was unreal. She was cut off from the past and therefore did not live in the present. But suddenly, as she stood close against a pine tree and breathed in its sharp, bitter scent, a clear space opened to her childhood, as though a wind had sprung up from the sea, clearing a mist. It was not a memory from the past but the past itself, as alive, as real; and she knew that she and the child of forty years ago were the same person.
That knowledge flooded her with happiness. But immediately came another insight, bringing almost unbearable joy. For as she looked back through the clear space to her childhood, there was no blank wall, only an endless extent, like an avenue, in which she was still herself, Lisa. She was still there, even at the beginning of all things...It all came from the scent of a pine tree.

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