Hotel du Lac

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Which comparison is more accurate? Have the Englishwomen at the hotel been cast off, as Edith suggests, or are they seeking refuge? Are there areas of her life about which she is not willing to tell the truth, even in this intimate narrative? If so, is this apparent only when we look at her letters to David?

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Is his very inaccessibility part of the attraction? What sort of marriage do David and his wife share? Do you find this assessment to be accurate? Why has Edith chosen to be a writer of romance novels, and how does this choice affect her actions?

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Do you believe that once Edith returns to London, she will continue to produce the same type of fiction? She also sketches out for him her own idea of happiness. Neville, in spite of his failure to win her over to his way of thinking, nonetheless influence her in making her adjust her ideas of happiness in the direction of his own? Has her definition of it changed? In her dealings with Monica and with Iris and Jennifer Pusey, Edith adopts the stance of an ironic observer who sees all the grotesque elements of the people around her.

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If so, why does Edith feel the need to distance people and make them less human? Does Edith intentionally attach herself to people such as Penelope—apparently her best friend but whom she also deeply scorns—who make her feel superior? What about Geoffrey Long? Are we, as readers, ever accorded a glimpse of Geoffrey as a real person who feels pain or love? Why does Edith feel compelled to mock him? It is clear that her mother has warped her feelings. In what way has Edith accepted the definitions of sex, femininity, and motherhood offered by her mother?

Is her dislike of other women a legacy from her mother, or is it due to real duplicity and competitiveness in the women of her acquaintance? Is the apparently strong bond between Iris and Jennifer finally attractive to Edith, or does she find it fearsome and devouring? Is Edith doomed to remain an emotional outsider unless she conforms to these rules? How is this technique employed in Hotel du Lac?

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What does this tell us about David and about Edith herself? Why does Edith feel unable to mail her letters to David? Why, knowing that she will not mail them, does she feel compelled to write them? How does the letter announcing her engagement to Neville differ from the earlier ones in tone and content? What does Virginia Woolf represent to Edith? Why is this resemblance flattering to her? Not — most notably — for Empire Of The Sun.

Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner - Reading Guide -

A quarter-century on, this failure to reward greatness seems a travesty. Even at the time it annoyed plenty of critics and Anita Brookner , the writer lucky-unlucky enough to be chosen in his place, took a lot of stick. Malcolm Bradbury called her winning novel, Hotel du Lac, "parochial", and thundered that it was not the sort of book that should have won the Booker. The New Statesman said it was "pretentious" although did at least do Brookner the kindness of noting that "it wasn't her fault that she won the prize.

Both from the point of view that Empire Of The Sun is so very good, but also because of the anger her victory provoked.

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  6. The sense of outraged justice created by the perception that Hotel du Lac usurped Ballard's crown is unfortunate. This is not a book that should enrage. It is actually one that should be admired and enjoyed. Quietly maybe, but still fervently. Written in clean and simple, but also subtly suggestive, prose it tells of Edith Hope, a romantic novelist on a "curious interlude in her life".

    She has been forced into temporary exile in the "stolid" Swiss hotel of the book's title after a romantic indiscretion that has outraged her friends so much that they have ordered her away to have a good long think. At first, Edith does indeed mope around, failing to write her latest blousy novel, trying to decide how she should make her way through life and soaking up and reflecting back the melancholy atmosphere of her surroundings. This pathetic fallacy is wonderfully handled, and the descriptions of the quiet, snooty hotel, where one imagines the air is almost as heavy as the old-fashioned furniture, are as evocative as they are amusing:.

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    Meanwhile, the portrayals of the other guests are positively — delightfully — cruel, especially the overbearing, over-monied Mrs Pusey and her curiously devoted daughter who decide to make cheering Edith up their project. Naturally, they only really succeed in boring and patronising her, but even so the distraction they and others provide lifts Edith from her solipsism and it comes as a pleasant surprise somewhere around the two-thirds mark to realise that Edith is on the mend.

    But as things start to get brighter for the heroine, they unfortunately get duller for the reader.

    Brookner's prose is so splendid in its own right that Hotel du Lac never felt less than impressive to me. But the understated and all too realistic discomfort of the opening gives way to something more overwrought. After pages and pages of delightfully painful getting-to-know-you small talk the characters suddenly seem to know each other far too well.

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