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Hotel Du Lac [Paperback]

Anita Brookner
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 1994
Hotel du Lac is the classic Booker Prize winning novel by Anita Brookner. Into the rarefied atmosphere of the Hotel du Lac timidly walks Edith Hope, romantic novelist and holder of modest dreams. Edith has been exiled from home after embarrassing herself and her friends. She has refused to sacrifice her ideals and remains stubbornly single. But among the pampered women and minor nobility Edith finds Mr Neville, and her chance to escape from a life of humiliating spinsterhood is renewed..."A classic ...a book which will be read with pleasure a hundred years from now". (Spectator). "A smashing love story. It is very romantic. It is also humorous, witty, touching and formidably clever". (The Times). "Hotel du Lac is written with a beautiful grave formality, and it catches at the heart". (Observer). "Her technique as a novelist is so sure and so quietly commanding". (Hilary Mantel, Guardian). "She is one of the great writers of contemporary fiction". (Literary Review). Anita Brookner was born in south London in 1928, the daughter of a Polish immigrant family. She trained as an art historian, and worked at the Courtauld Institute of Art until her retirement in 1988. She published her first novel, A Start in Life, in 1981 and her twenty-fourth, Strangers, in 2009. Hotel du Lac won the 1984 Booker Prize. As well as fiction, Anita Brookner has published a number of volumes of art criticism.

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Product Details

Product Description

From Amazon

Edith Hope (a.k.a. romance author Veronica Wilde) has been banished by her friends to a stately hotel in Switzerland. During her stay she befriends some of the other guests, each of whom has his or her own tale. Edith struggles to come to terms with her career and love--the lack, the benefits, and the meaning thereof. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


A smashing love story. It is very romantic. It is also humorous, witty, touching and formidably clever The Times A classic...a book which will be read with pleasure a hundred years from now Spectator Written with a beautiful grave formality, and it catches at the heart Observer She is one of the great writers of contemporary fiction Literary Review

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
From the window all that could be seen was a receding area of grey. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book I'd recommend. March 10 2002
By jinx
It took me forever to get into "Hotel du Lac." I love Jane Austen and I love Anne Tyler and this books sorta straddles both and was recommended to me by a used bookstore owner who said his wife liked it.
Finally after several chapters I got hooked and I read it slowly enough to relish it. I lived in Geneva and Basle so I could understand the place and was fascinated to read her version of Lake Geneva. The book slowly unfolds and has the unexpected twists you get in mysteries and at the end you are still puzzling - it isn't so neat in fact like a good movie it makes you want to go out and discuss it with others. The reviews here make me think the people who are reading it prefer action novels and would be the last people I'd like to discuss this book with.
But I really loved it. I'm only sorry every one says it's her best as I'd like to read others by her and not be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and very enjoyable Feb. 2 1999
By A Customer
I really enjoyed this book, which I read in one enjoyable afternoon. The author made me laugh, kept me in suspense, and provoked my thinking. I wrote down numerous quotations to remember later. Two of the main issues the author looks at are: the idea that two people will never be able to create a peaceful existence together, and; the notion that the key to happiness is found in perfect selfishness, renouncing love. Brookner makes a great case for these two ideas.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Hotel du Lack! Sept. 21 2001
The anti-heroine of the book, Edith, describes her hotel room as drab. She might as well have been describing the whole novel. There are no redeeming qualities here. There is not a single lovable character in the entire story. These are our choices: Mrs. Pusey and her daughter, both of them so divine that probably do not need to ever go to the bathroom, Monica and her obnoxious dog, the caricature of Mme. de Bonneuil, the hotelier and his airs of grandeur, and slimy Mr. Neville. We also hear about Penelope, who happens to be Edith's neighbor and best friend, and we can only feel sorry for Edith. Of course, that sorrow lasts for about 2 seconds, because Edith is a vocational doormat. The descriptions of place are stuffy, and the sky is gray all the time! The ending is depressing, because nothing happens to Edith. She does not become a better, stronger person after her vacation. She stays the same way, being a passive, boring pushover. What I want to know is what the judges of the Booker prize were thinking! Maybe the competition that year was even more terrible.
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3.0 out of 5 stars wry, witty novel Nov. 27 2000
Edith Hope is a British spinster whose friends have packed her off to the Hotel Du Lac in Switzerland so that she can regroup after a horrible social disgrace, which is not immediately revealed to us. Ms Hope it turns out is a romance novelist, writing under a pseudonym. She spends her days at the Hotel working on her new novel, going for walks and taking tea with her colorful fellow guests and looking back at the chain of events which brought her to this place in her life.
What develops is an extended meditation on the need for love and marriage and companionship. Ms Hope is all too passive in the face of these great issues. As she tells her agent:
''People love (the story of the tortoise and the hare), especially women. Now you will notice, Harold, that in my books it is the mouse-like unassuming girl who gets the hero, while the scornful temptress with whom he has had a stormy affair retreats baffled from the fray, never to return. The tortoise wins every time. This is a lie, of course. . . . In real life, of course, it is the hare who wins. Every time. Look around you. And in any case it is my contention that Aesop was writing for the tortoise market. Axiomatically. . . . Hares have no time to read. They are too busy winning the game. The propaganda goes all the other way, but only because it is the tortoise who is in need of consolation. Like the meek who are going to inherit the earth.''
In the end, even if she doesn't necessarily get her man, she proves to be the tortoise emerging "victorious" once again.
This is a wry, witty novel, sort of a humorous update of an E.M. Forster tale. But it's an extremely slender story and the docility of it's central character is quite annoying.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a gem Sept. 19 2000
Hotel du Lac is Anita Brookner at her best (recognizing that she's a writer who either draws you into her spell or doesn't.) In this novel she held me spellbound. A young woman has been sent by well-meaning friends to respectable Swiss lakeside hotel, elegant and restfully dull, to get over a disastrous love affair. But as in all of Anita Brookner's novels, there are deep layers to apparent dullness, and the traquillity of the hotel's atmosphere and the predictability of its guests is only apparent.
The melancholy yet lovely coming of autumn on the shores of the lake is as much an integral part of the story as the heroine's lonely and reflective voice. The other guests at the hotel frame Edith's awareness and become major catalysts of the book's plot. The sadness of the events Edith reveals to the reader is always balanced by her deliciously honest irony toward herself--her awareness that she has chosen her destiny. The ending is remarkable.
I read Hotel du Lac when it was first published and again recently. It's even better on re-reading, richer and deeper, proving itself a contemporary classic. Anita Brookner has a voice that's unique, original, and, certainly in this book, perfect.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time
Luckily I only paid $2 for this book. It was hard to get started (this was my second go at it). It got better, then I just wanted to find out what happens. Read more
Published on June 26 2010 by Tigersoup
3.0 out of 5 stars I read the book at the back of Hotel Du Lac
All I can say is that the book is not a true image of the hotel nor the place, (Vevey Switzerland) itself. Read more
Published on April 2 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Reasons for being single
Very subtle and understanding analysis of how a woman who likes her own company could choose singleness...Deep and entertaining reading!
Published on Jan. 27 2002 by doriana bruni
5.0 out of 5 stars A Subtle & Winsome Masterpiece
Potential Readers Beware: This book is subtle, intelligent, witty, heartbreaking, arid, sensuous, eloquent and luminous. Read more
Published on May 20 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writer and great book
Anita Brookner is one of the best writers today. I read Hotel du Lac right after Undue Influence and was not disappointed. Read more
Published on April 17 2001 by Mr. NY Reader
1.0 out of 5 stars dull and disappointing
Had just read Altered States, which I loved. Thought, if Hotel du Lac won the Booker Prize, it must be great, right? Wrong. Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2000 by Lisa J. Fruitt
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothin' happenin' at the Hotel du Lac
This is yet another excercise in semi-autobiographical snoring by an otherwise capable writer.
Why do they DO this? Read more
Published on April 22 2000 by :)
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get into it...does it get better?
Ick. Really boring. I was really in the mood to read, and after 10 pages I gave it up. Very flat and airless.Is this one worth being patient about? Read more
Published on Jan. 11 2000 by Maureen
1.0 out of 5 stars Insipid Love
The plot is unconvincing and lacking in depth. The heroine, Edith Hope, takes a break in a respectable lakeside Swiss hotel, escaping for a while from the immediate consequences... Read more
Published on Dec 26 1999 by William Scraggs
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