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Hotel du Lac

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  14,323 ratings  ·  890 reviews
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 pseudonym. When her life begins to resemble the plots of her own novels, however, Edith flees to Switzerland, where the quiet luxury of ...more
Paperback, First Vintage Contemporaries Edition, 184 pages
Published October 3rd 1995 by Vintage Books (first published September 6th 1984)
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3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,323 ratings  ·  890 reviews


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Jeffrey Keeten
”Her friend and neighbour, Penelope Milne, who, tight-lipped, was prepared to forgive her only on condition that she disappeared for a decent length of time and came back older, wiser, and properly apologetic. For I am not to be allowed my lapse, as if I were an artless girl, she thought; and why should I be? I am a serious woman who should know better and am judged by my friends to be past the age of indiscretion; several people have remarked upon my physical resemblance to Virginia Woolf; I am ...more
Paul Bryant
Sep 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels
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
Duane
This review contains spoilers.

1984 Booker Prize Winner.

Edith Hope, a successful romance writer, has made some mistakes, two of them actually; she is having an affair with a married man, and she walked out on her wedding to another man at the last minute. So her friends suggest that she take a change of scenery, another way of saying, get out of town for awhile. So she gets away to Switzerland, and the luxurious Hotel du Lac. But it's later in the story when the reader is told the reason for her
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I knew I was going to like this book the minute I read Edith's description of her hotel room, decorated as it is in shades of overcooked veal. There are so many moments of humor in these pages, but it is quiet, blink-and-you-might-miss-it humor.

"People feel at home with low moral standards. It is scruples that put them off."

"The company of their own sex, Edith reflected was what drove many women into marriage."

The first 100 pages or so of the novel, Edith is more of a narrator of the characters
...more
knig
Mar 20, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Eric
May 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Cynthia
May 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Annet
Jul 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature-pure
This book, I'm going in two directions with this one. On the one hand, at times boring me, on the other hand, an interesting story, with interesting observations on persons, environment and the theme love by a sadly portraited woman, who imo is strong in the end of the book.
Rebecca
Jun 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: booker-winners
Edith Hope may be a moderately successful romance novelist, but her own love life is a shambles. After leaving a poor chap at the altar back in London, she goes on a sabbatical to a Swiss hotel to take stock of her life and spend some time working. Instead, she ends up absorbed in the lives of her fellow guests, especially elderly Mrs. Pusey and her daughter, and attracts an unwanted suitor. The choice before Edith is between safety and passion, and right up until the last few pages it’s unclear ...more
Terri
I am sorry I waited so long to read a book by the great British author, Anita Brookner. If you haven't read her works, you are in for a treat. Next up for me is reading her book "Making Things Better" (The Next Big Thing) which was longlisted for the Booker prize. "Hotel du Lac" won the Man Booker prize in 1984. It deserves it. The novel is about a woman who is exiled to a Swiss hotel to let things die down after a scandal. After bittersweet interactions with other hotel members, she begins to s ...more
Paul E. Morph
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm almost sure the title of this book is a pun (which gets it points from me; I can't resist a pun) as every character in the book, especially the protagonist, is definitely lacking something or other.

If you're the sort of person who tends to complain that 'nothing happens' in a book, I would avoid this one. This is an introspective, reflective novel; it's all about the inner journey, not the physical one.

Our protagonist, Edith, is an author, specialising in romances (quite low-brow romances is
...more
Irene
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This novel is the perfect balance of quietly beautiful and quietly sad. Our narrator is a single woman on the edge of spinsterhood who is taking refuge in a Swiss luxury hotel during the off season to ride out an embarrassing breach of social expectations. In this quiet setting populated by eccentric cast-offs from love, she is surprised by what she comes to realize about herself. The atmosphere and characters are so vivid that I was easily drawn into the Hotel du Lac and became one of its resid ...more
Brad
Sep 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Andrea
Edith Hope is a romance novelist who is banished by her friends to the Hotel du Lac on Lake Geneva in order to atone for a transgression, the details of which we don't learn until well into the second half of the book. At the hotel, it is approaching the end of the season and only a handful of long-term guests remain. Edith establishes a routine of writing and spending time with the other guests. Then along comes Mr Neville.

I am quite bemused that this won the Booker in 1984. It's such a simple,
...more
Antonomasia
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."
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011...

Hotel du Lac seems like a book from the 1920s-50
...more
Josie
May 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hotel-books
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
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
CoffeeBook Chick
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jake Goretzki
Jan 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
(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
Kirstine
I promised myself I'd go into a bookstore and buy a book I'd never heard of before, by an author I didn't know, since I never ever go into a store and buy a book I wasn't always planning on reading. Which is a shame. The result was the purchase of this slim Man Booker winning novel. And it wasn't a bad random pick, although I'm a little uncertain what it was REALLY trying to do.

See, I honestly don't know about this book. I found it very charming, and was easily swept into its languid prose, slo
...more
Neil
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
A woman arrives at a hotel and is gradually introduced to the other guests. She makes the rounds talking to each of them, gets the low down on some from others, hears a bit about their background. For the first half of this book, I thought I was reading a Miss Marple mystery. I was waiting for a scream and a dead body. I did get the scream at one point, which, for me, was the highlight of the book because it seemed like the author knew the impression she was creating and then joked about it with ...more
Maria
May 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Jesse
Sep 23, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Katerina
Местами очень хорошо, местами ужасно, местами напоминает роман "Что делать?". Больше всего понравилось, как героиня приезжает в тихий швейцарский отель и так же тихо сидит в гостиной и со смешанным чувством гадливости, ужаса, зависти и восхищения завороженно рассматривает эксцентричных и богатых постояльцев – чудесные сцены для тех, кто не может представить себе, как в раньше жили без инстаграма.
Kathryn
I liked the sound of this one, however I didn’t feel that it ultimately delivered. It felt too slow and had too many words describing things I didn’t care about. I wanted to know why Edith, the narrator, was in the hotel in Switzerland, but it just seemed to take too long to get there - even though my copy of the book (a large print edition) was only just over 200 pages long!
Britta Böhler
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa
Jun 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lisa by: Booker Prize Yahoo group
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie
Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Vonia
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
Nick Davies
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
A slow-burning, beautifully described, intelligent and introverted novel - Edith is an author spending time at the titular and strange Hotel du Lac in the wake of some kind of (later detailed) social catastrophe, and during her stay she is brought to consider various aspects of self-image and romance and behaviour. It's a wonderfully uncertain sort of novel, which feels important yet somewhat intangible - very believable as a Booker Prize winner in the same way that some others (i.e. 'The Sea' a ...more
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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, Fraud (1992) ...more
“Good women always think it is their fault when someone else is being offensive. Bad women never take the blame for anything.” 92 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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