Skip to main content

Review: Hotel du Lac, by Anita Brookner


Pages: 184
Original date of publication: 1984
My edition: 1986 (Dutton)
Why I decided to read:
How I acquired my copy: The Strand, NYC, July 2011


When Edith Hope, a romance novelist, retreats to the Hotel du Lac in Switzerland, she goes there at the request of her friends. An "event" in her near past has led her friends to be concerned for her mental health. The story revolves around the people she meets at the hotel: a wealthy jetsetter and her grown daughter; an aristocratic beauty; and a gentleman with whom she quickly becomes friends.

It’s late August and the offseason at the Hotel du Lac, and everything seems to wilt in the heat, even the waiters in the empty salon. There’s an air of sadness pervading this novel, not helped much by the fact that Edith herself is a rather sad character. She’s introverted, morose, and rather pessimistic. Edith comes across strongly as a character, although I could identify with her a little bit. Edith certainly lives in her head a lot, so it was interesting to see how Mr. Neville and the other guests draw her out a little bit more. At the same time, I enjoyed watching her observations of her fellow hotel guests, especially considering that Edith is a writer. As such, she’s supposed to be observant, yet, for example, she has to re-guess Mrs. Pusey’s age over and over. So it’s interesting to watch how Edith’s prejudices shape how she sees the insulated world of the Hotel du Lac.

Like other readers, I was thrown off by the time frame of this book; I kept feeling it was 1950s or 60s, although I think this book was meant to be a bit timeless. The thing that dates the book, in my opinion, is everyone’s reactions to “the event:’ for the present time or even the ‘80s, when the book was published, it doesn’t seem all that shocking; in fact, many people make that kind of decision every day.

In all, this was a highly reflective book; there are some fabulous descriptions of the Hotel du Lac and the town it’s situated near. I’ve not read any of Anita Brookner’s books before, but I’ll do so again, since I thought this was an excellent book.

Comments

Unknown said…
q1 hotel


Many travelers choose whether to stay in a bed and breakfast or hotel based on specific needs. Those who desire a 'home away from home' experience may seek out a traditional bed and breakfast, while others may require the corporate amenities and convenient location provided by a hotel.
skiourophile said…
I think this is my favourite Brookner (or maybe in a tie with A Start in Life). Such a lovely, melancholy book.
Carole said…
I was wondering whether you would be happy to put up a link in my brand new monthly series called “Books You Love”. The idea is for people to link up posts about a book they loved – it doesn’t have to be one they just posted about. It could be an old fave. I am hoping we will end up with a nice collection of books that can go on our reading lists. Here is the link Books You Loved May Edition
Very Good Post, Gives very brief information thank u!

Hotel asia ladakh

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is an old dotard, her third locks her up in the house for days and won't let her out; and the last is a fop who a…

Review: This Rough Magic, by Mary Stewart

Pages: 254Original date of publication: 1964My edition: 1964 (William Morrow)Why I decided to read: it was 90 degrees outside at the time and I decided it was time to read another book by a favorite authorHow I acquired my copy: from Susanna Kearsley, December 2009Sometimes, whether or not I decide to read a book depends on the weather. Mary Stewart’s books are best read on either very hot or very cold days; and since it was 90 degrees out one weekend a couple of weeks ago, I decided that this one would be perfect. And it was.This Rough Magic takes its title from The Tempest, a play from which this novel takes off. Lucy Waring is a struggling actress who comes to visit her sister on Corfu. One of her neighbors is a renowned actor who’s taken a bit of a sabbatical and his son, a musician with whom Lucy comes to blows at first. This Rough Magic is vintage Mary Stewart, with a murder or two, a mystery, romance, suspense, and lots of magic thrown in. Lucy is your typical Mary Stewart hero…

Review: Joy in the Morning, by Betty Smith

Pages: 294
Original date of publication: 1963
My edition: 2010 (Harper Perennial)
Why I decided to read:
How I acquired my copy: Barnes and Noble, Phoenix, January 2011


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my all-time favorite books and I’ve read it, oh, half a dozen times, so I was interested to see how Joy in the Morning would compare.

Set in the late 1920s, Joy in the Morning begins when Annie, aged 18, comes to a small Midwestern college town where her fiancĂ©e, Carl, is in law school. The novel opens with their marriage in the county courthouse, and follows the couple through their first year or so of marriage. It’s a struggle, because Carl and Annie are basically children themselves, for all the ways in which Carl tries to appear more adult-like.

Annie is endearing; she’s ignorant but a voracious reader, reading everything from Babbitt to War and Peace. Betty Smith’s novels are pretty autobiographical; Joy in the Morning is (unofficially) a kind of sequel to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn—cert…