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Hotel du Lac

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  16,583 ratings  ·  1,132 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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Kristina
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

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Average rating 3.59  · 
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 ·  16,583 ratings  ·  1,132 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
Ilse
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
'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.'

Well….Perhaps these moderate and modest dreams (perhaps shared by quite a few of us readers, regardless of gender and whether in a romantic relationship or not?) permit to cate
...more
Kevin Ansbro
Theoretically, Edith Hope, an English writer of romantic fiction, who leads a vanilla existence and who bears a resemblance to Virginia Woolfe, has retreated to an out-of-season hotel in Switzerland to work on her latest novel. In reality, she (view spoiler). Her friends have expeditiously packed her off to the Hotel du Lac to think things through.
The Hotel is a snooty institution, selective of its clientele a
...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
Robin
'If your capacity for bad behaviour were being properly used, you would not be moping around in that cardigan.'

Oh, if he only knew! Edith Hope and her dowdy cardigan know about bad behaviour well enough. I won't spill the beans, but it's precisely because of her bad behaviour that she's been sequestered at the snooty Swiss Hotel du Lac, until society at large can recover from their shock or distain and unknot their panties or whatever they need to do. (This 1984 Booker winner is set in prissy 50
...more
Annet
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.
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
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.
Barry Pierce
A novel that is minimalist in every way. Reads like watching a cloud pass. Every word meticulously placed. Much like this review.
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
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.
Chrissie
OK, so this won the Booker in 1984, but honestly it didn’t do much for me. Basically, it is a story about a bunch of unsatisfied, discontent women and how they cope with each other and men. Should you wait and marry only that man you really fall for? This is the central question of the book—a question posed by zillions of books before.

What is somewhat different here is the setting--a small, quiet, discrete but respectable hotel on Lac Léman near Geneva, Switzerland. Edith Hope, a British author
...more
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
Michael
???? 80s: someone says anita brookner only writes one book- but gives them each new titles, locales, slightly different characters- i would not know, as this is the only one i have read of hers. and read again. and again. this is not my life, but i like borrowing her character’s life for an afternoon- it is a quick, short read- and never fails to make such very english english life seem plausible. neither comic, satiric, romantic, masculine action prose, but only words that settle like an anaest ...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
Matthew Appleton
123rd book of 2020.

Though this book probably deserves slightly more than a measly 3 stars, that's where I am going to leave it for now. This won the Booker back in '84; unsurprisingly. I don't mean to sound like a sceptic but I am starting to sense there is a Man Booker formula - if one writes a book using said formula, one has a good chance of winning. Of the other Man Booker winners I've read, this reminded me somewhat of The Sea, The Sense of an Ending, The Remains of the Day... Though, ther
...more
Anna
This was a slow and quiet book. Substantial despite its unsubstantial size. Funny and melancholic. With a heroine that is not much of a heroine (much like Austen's Fanny Price), who seems to have resigned from her life, despite being rather attractive and quite successful as a writer.

Edith writes romance novels for the tortoises (as opposed to the hares), as she describes it herself, because she thinks that it is the tortoises that need them since the hares are too busy living them out. An unsp
...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
Dan
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: man-booker-prize
Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner won the Booker Prize in 1984.

A simple story with memorable characters and beautiful and efficient prose. Edith is a runaway bride and author who is on an extended vacation at the hotel. We meet a number of characters, most all are of privilege. We root for Edith throughout the novel. As the informed reader we come to know her introverted nature and we know the nature of men, especially those portrayed in this novel.

5 stars. This is an example of how to write an ex
...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
Proustitute (on hiatus)
“In a dream, half the time,” observed Mrs Dempster, “making up those stories of hers. I sometimes wonder if she knows what it’s all about.” Penelope laughed, and Edith, seeing this through the open kitchen door, wondered if she might be allowed in to share the joke. “My dear, I’m the one with all the stories,” she was in time to hear Penelope say. “I wonder she doesn’t put me in a book.”

I have, thought Edith. You did not recognize yourself.
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
Hugh
This was the first Brookner novel I read, but won't be the last. She is a fine stylist, and this was a poised study of a lonely middle aged woman in a strange hotel - rather gloomy subject matter but a very enjoyable and rewarding read.
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
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: feminist, booker, sad, drama
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
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
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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

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“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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