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The Inn at Lake Devine
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The Inn at Lake Devine

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  4,805 Ratings  ·  447 Reviews
It's 1962 and all across America barriers are collapsing. But when Natalie Marx's mother inquires about summer accommodations in Vermont, she gets the following reply: The Inn at Lake Devine is a family-owned resort, which has been in continuous operation since 1922. Our guests who feel most comfortable here, and return year after year, are Gentiles. For twelve-year-old Na ...more
Paperback, 253 pages
Published April 27th 1999 by Vintage (first published May 19th 1998)
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Lisa Vegan
Mar 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who enjoys entertaining novels
Recommended to Lisa by: Virginia Messina
This book was a very satisfying read. This is a wonderful, almost a comedy of manners, coming of age story. The author shows remarkable perspicacity regarding intergenerational conflict, bigotry, cultural differences, and the eras of the 1960s and 1970s. And I must say I’m always a sucker for any good bad mushroom story.

The first and shorter Part 1 was my favorite portion. During that section, I was often laughing out loud; it was hilarious. The section would have sufficed as a stand-alone novel
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I found this book by chance in a Parisian apartment eight years ago when I was desperate to read something in English. I might have enjoyed ANYTHING at that point, but wow, this book was fantastic and an introduction to Elinor Lipman, who is consistently one of our finest writers of contemporary mores. "Inn" tells the story of Natalie Marx, a young girl from a largely non-religious Jewish family in Newton, Massachusetts who, in the 1960s, becomes obsessed with a Vermont guesthouse run by an anti ...more
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Few novels manage to combine humor and sadness the way this one does. It touches on anti-Semitism without being heavy-handed, and brings a varied cast of characters to a new understanding of themselves and others. Lipman has a quirky sense of humor and sets up a wonderful premise here in an interesting location. You have to love a protagonist who, learning that a resort on a New England lake doesn't accept Jewish guests, sets out to expose the innkeepers in such an inventive way. There's a roman ...more
Virginia Messina
Mar 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was a quick read, and an enjoyable one! When Natalie’s mother inquires about rentals at an inn on a New England lake, she receives an icily polite response making it clear that, as Jews, they will not be comfortable at this resort. Teenage Natalie, fresh from her first reading of Anne Frank's diary, becomes obsessed with the inn and its owner. This part of the book is very funny and was better, I thought, than the second half. The story jumps forward to Natalie's adult years as her relation ...more
Feb 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A couple of years ago I happened to notice one of those banner ads in Goodreads, one of those that seemed to show up every time you noticed for weeks prior to the summer reading season. It was for “The Inn at Lake Devine”. I feel I need to tell the marketers that their ad worked in that I remembered the book, but unfortunately for them it was when I found the book in a used book store (shout out to Book Hunters in Naperville!). It was a hard cover first edition and autographed, and I discovered ...more
Sarah Louise Leach
May 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Having stayed in Vermont at an Inn similar to the one in the novel a few years ago, I enjoyed Lipmans portrayal of tight lipped intolerance and false facades. It was still the same three decades after the novels setting when in the place we stayed, the owner , after discovering I was diabetic, would only address my husband and not speak directly to me " does she eat sausages? ". I was also admonished for wearing a football tshirt I had bought in Boston earlier that week , as " the wrong kind for ...more
Rachel Pollock
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Maybe more of a 3.5? I don’t know. I didn’t dislike the book, but I kept waiting for it to really take off but the plot never gets its momentum going. I guess I can say that I enjoyed a book about 20th century working class Jewish Americans with challenges and loves and drama and which didn’t have an obligatory epic genocide thread as part of the storyline. A good summer read maybe.
May 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite among all of Lipman's many wonderful novels, read in a straightforward, unselfconscious way. I handed it off to my daughter's friend Eva as soon as I listened to the last disc. At a time in life when they're trying to figure out just which tribe they belong to, this is a book that teens will appreciate. They'll relate to Natalie Marx's righteous fury about the polite WASP anti-Semitism she and her family encounter when scouting for a place to spend their annual 2 week vacation in New ...more
Sep 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Lipman's books look as if they must be 'guilty pleasure' books, but I swear they're good--Lipman has a singular voice and dry sense of humor. They're in a class of books that is hard to come by--maybe not 'literary fiction' but fun: well-written keen studies of people. Though I and others might argue that they are 'literary fiction'! If only the covers didn't scream 'chick lit'...
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, fiction
One of my favorite Elinor Lipman novels; I just read it for the third time. Now, which of her books to read next?
Jul 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this book, especially because my mom recommended it to me and I know how much she loves Eleanor Lipman, but I just couldn't get into it.

I loved the humor, the constant Jewish references, and the dialogue was always amazing. However, a lot of the time it felt like the book was too all over the place and the author just kept throwing in new scenarios for dialogue. I think it concluded poorly, too.

It's not that this was a bad book; it's more that the plot lines could use som
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mcpl-book
The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman is narrated by Natalie Marx. Natalie's family is Jewish. And in the "enlightened" times of the 1960s, racial barriers are falling. Supposedly. But when Natalie's parents are looking for a place to spend their vacation in the summer of 1962, they receive an answer from Vermont that sounds very much like a challenge to Natalie. The guests of the Inn at Lake Devine are all Gentiles--they're the ones who "feel most comfortable here and return year after year." ...more
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I found this book in the to be sold pile at the library where I work. I try hard not to look too closely at these books - I always find something that I want to read.

Lipman captured my attention from the first sentence. I never read Hobson's Gentlman's Agreement, but the theme of these two books are similar. In the not too distant past, some hotels did not accept Jews. Natalie, the narrator of this book, and her family are Jewish.

Natalie becomes a bit obsessive about The Inn at Lake Devine, but
Connie Mayo
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Somewhere between two and three stars. I was looking for a light and funny summer read, but this one wasn't quite what I was looking for. The main conflict seems to be the anti-semitism of the matriarch at the Inn, but it doesn't stop any of her three children from becoming romantically involved with nonJews, and her anti-Jewish sentiments are treated as almost funny. Plus, the Central Event that happens fairly early on (no spoiler) is tragic but treated, well, not entirely tragically. For me it ...more
This book deserves more than what it's cover describes it as "a witty romantic comedy". It tackles the subject of anti-Semitism in the 1960s at an inn in Vermont. Its part coming of age novel too. It is well written and very moving in how this young woman confronts the subject and finds love along the way. I took a star off because of the way the publishers marketed this book. It deserves more than a rom-com label.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jul 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-s-fiction
I couldn't set the book down once I started it. Natalie's Jewish family receives a letter from an inn the family had hoped to visit which warns that non-Gentiles are not welcome there; Natalie takes this as a challenge. Thoughtful and fun. I think I've found a new author I love!

Jan 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Short, satisfying, and fun, with great dialogue and characters. I had not heard of Elinor Lipman before finding this book--now I want to read others by her. Question: the dedication implies that this is based on a true story--does anyone know if it is?
Jun 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Set in Vermont and the Catskills this book follows the life of a young Jewish woman and her family and friends in the summer cottage industry. The story was part social commentary part love story, and I really enjoyed it. Well written.
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very quick and enjoyable Summer read .
funniest book about anti-Semitism, ever! (No, I'm not joking.)
Jan 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Love Elinor Lipman -- who I discovered this summer -- and this might be one of the very best.
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it
it was a simple easy read that was entertaining but it all wrapped up a little too quickly and easily
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
A light, fun read that also looks at American social barriers in the 1960's
Suanne Laqueur
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-five-stars
A really great read wrapped around social commentary, personal identity, and food. One of my all-time favorites.
Feb 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Nice easy read. Interesting story about the prejudice facing middle class jewish families and how the melting pot is changing things.
Jun 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good summer read. Interesting characters, okay writing.
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Yes, I started and finished this book in one day! No one was home, I felt decadent..easy fun reading book! 253 Pages of summer reading pleasure!
Jan 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, book-club
Light, fun read - but not that serious. The plot had the potential to be deeper, but it seemed to end in a predictable, everything turned out great manner.
Anne Marie
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Elinor Lipman is the author of 11 humorous novels about contemporary American society; essay and short story collections, and a book of rhyming political tweets.. Born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, she graduated from Simmons College where she studied journalism. She lives in Manhattan, and received the New England Book award for fiction in 2001. Her first novel, "Then She Found Me," was ada ...more
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“It was not complicated, and, as my mother pointed out, not even personal: They had a hotel; they didn't want Jews; we were Jews. (The Inn at Lake Devine)” 1 likes
“That's how it was on Irving Circle and how I was raised: You made the best out of what was within reach, which meant friendships engineered by parents and by the happenstance of housing. I stayed with it because we both had queenly older sisters who rarely condescended to play with us, because Shelley was adopted and I was not, because Shelley had Clue and Life, and I did not” 1 likes
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