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.