Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner

A Three Reasons Review

1. Why I chose this book

I read this for an on-line discussion group, but I was actually the one who nominated it. The theme was “prize winners” and this won the Man Booker Prize in 1984. It was short, which sadly sometimes plays into my book choices, and I liked the sound of the plot. Edith Hope, a romance novelist, is banished to a hotel in Switzerland to allow her time to more or less regain her senses after making a decision her friends and acquaintances found embarrassing. While there though, she comes to some realizations about herself and about love in general.

“I mean that I cannot live well without it. I cannot think or act or speak or write or even dream with any kind of energy in the absence of love. I feel excluded from the living world. I become cold, fish-like, immobile. I implode.” (pg. 98)

2. Reasons I liked the book

I loved the writing style. The sentences are long, flowing and descriptive.  It’s a book to savor. It’s melancholy but amusing too. Each of the hotel’s guests have lost at love in some way, even the man who offers Edith an escape from the life she’s known. The observations and interactions kept be enthralled in this delicate, subtle drama.

3. Reasons I am recommending this book

I wouldn’t recommend this book to everyone. My husband for example would be bored out of his skull by the first paragraph alone.

From the window all that could be seen was a receding area of grey. It was to be supposed that beyond the grey garden, which seemed to srpout nothing but the stiffish leaves of some unfamiliar plant, lay the vast grey lake, spreading like an anaesthetic toward the invisible further shore, and beyond that, in imagination only, yet verified by the brochure, the peak of the Dent d’Oche, on which snow might already be slightly and silently falling. For it was late September, out of season; the tourists had gone, the rates were reduced, and there were few inducements for visitors in this small town at the water’s edge, whose inhabitants, uncommunicative to begin with, were frequently rendered taciturn by the dense cloud that descended for days at a time and then vanished without warning to reveal a new landscape, full of colour and incident: boats skimming on the lake, passengers at the landing stage, an open air market, the outline of the gaunt remains of a thirteenth-century castle, seams of white on the far mountains, and on the cheerful uplands to the south a rising backdrop of apple trees, the fruit sparkling with emblematic significance. (pg. 7)

Simple, lyrical, lovely. It’s a thoughtful book, luxurious and melancholy, that many readers will delight in.

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Purchase at an Indie Bookstore.

184 pages
First published 1984
Booker Prize Winner 1984

4½ out of 5 stars

Challenges: 100+, Women Unbound

I have to thank Jenny at Jenny Loves to Read for today’s format. I was having trouble pulling my thoughts together and the three reasons definitely helped.

I received my copy through Paperbackswap and the above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon and IndieBound affiliate.


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