Tuesday, July 1, 2008

BOOK: Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner

Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner

Booker Prize 1984

After I read Brookner's biography at wikipedia, I began to wonder how autobiographical this novel was. Edith Hope, a novelist of a certain age, has come to the Hotel du Lac in Switzerland following an 'unfortunate' incident in London. She has never married and is spending her exile examining her single life and what type of person she is. The other women at the hotel are also in a form of exile, and Edith examines their lives and motives as well. Brookner never married and looked after her parents. I imagine this book was a cathartic examination of her life and place in society as well.

This is a quiet little book full of atmosphere, questioning roles in society, and the relationships between men and women. I enjoyed its slow pace and simple story, but there is a lot of layers to it and you could get a lot more out of it if you are a person who likes to read deeper. I don't often, but the surface story was good as well and I liked the setting of Switzerland and the old hotel and its levels of society. And at 184 pages, it was the perfect length. I don't know that I would read it and think it was a prize winning novel, but I can also see the elements of literature that would place this in Booker contention.

4 comments:

3M said...

I've wanted to read this for awhile now. Looking forward to it later this month.

raidergirl3 said...

I didn't realize it was an upcoming bookawards choice book, so I am already ahead. I think you'll like it.

Nymeth said...

I look forward to reading this later this year too. The length does sound perfect. I like slow-paced and introspective books, but they have to be done well or else they get tiresome.

tinylittlelibrarian said...

Thanks for the interesting review! This is on my Book Awards Challenge list, too, but my library's only copy was lost, so I have to wait til my request to purchase more comes through. I've wanted to read it for quite a long time.