I can easily imagine this becoming a slightly underground classic in the future as the characters and story are just wonderful. Hotel Du Lac is the story of Edith Hope as she takes a break from the world and her writing of mildly successful romance novels. If you loved that line, like I did, then you will love all of the wording and wit Anita Brookner provides throughout a mere pages. Of course you then want to find out just what disgraceful act Edith has been apart of and as the novel and her character develop you soon realise it could be more than one thing.

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Do the events of the book bear her assessment out, or does her character prove to be darker and more subversive than she herself might care to admit? Is her willingness to be commandeered by Mrs. Pusey, Monica, or Penelope an indication of passivity, or does it represent a need in its own right? 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? 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?

Do you believe that once Edith returns to London, she will continue to produce the same type of fiction? Edith tells Mr. She also sketches out for him her own idea of happiness. Does Mr. 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.

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? 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? What emotional limitations does it encourage her to give in to? How do they lead to her final decision? How does the consciousness of sex affect her dealings with the women characters in the book? Edith readily admits to preferring men to women, but as the novel progresses, we see the beginnings of a more inclusive, sophisticated attitude, a willingness to include women in her emotional world, even to offer them her friendship.

How does this manifest itself in the text? Do you believe that it constitutes triumph, defeat, or resignation for Edith?

In rejecting Neville, what interpretation of herself does she reject? What longed-for things does she give up? Share: Share on Facebook. Add to Cart. We hope that they will give you a number of interesting angles from which to consider this elegant, deceptively simple novel, which has become a classic in the years since its publication. Introduction Edith Hope is an astute, watchful Englishwoman approaching middle age, a writer of romance novels who secretly believes in the happy endings they offer.

After Edith embarrasses her London friends by transgressing their strict but unwritten sexual and emotional codes, they ship her off to a quiet Swiss hotel in the hope that she will become once again her familiar, respectable self.

During her dreamlike sojourn at the Hotel du Lac, Edith encounters a strange cast of characters, including Monica, a cast-off wife; Mrs. Pusey, an avid, narcissistic woman with her inscrutable daughter, Jennifer; and a fascinating but rather diabolical gentleman, Mr. In this period of hiatus from her everyday world, Edith begins for the first time to reflect on her own life with real insight and honesty, and when she is offered the chance to make a radical change in her situation, she responds decisively and with a new knowledge of herself.

Questions and Topics for Discussion 1. About this Author Anita Brookner was born in London in She received a B. Brookner taught at the University of Reading from to , and since has been a Lecturer in Art History at the Courtauld. From to she was Slade Professor at Cambridge, the first woman to hold that position. Since her first novel was published in , Brookner has had a dual career as an art historian and a novelist.

She has been remarkably successful in both fields and has published fourteen novels in as many years. Suggested Reading J. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices.

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Booker club: Hotel du Lac

New York: Pantheon Books. AT a crucial point in ''Hotel du Lac,'' the winner of England's Booker Prize, a rich and attractive man leans toward a woman and says, ''You may feel better if you tell me about it. Like those obscure advertisements for ointment that help you to 'obtain relief. It's a conversation that might have come straight from a Barbara Pym novel: the man all intensity, the woman devastatingly down-to- earth. In fact, Anita Brookner has often been compared with Pym - less because of style, one supposes, than because of her cast of players. Her central character is invariably a mild-mannered English spinster, pleasant to look at, if not very striking, and impeccably dressed.


Hotel du Lac

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Do the events of the book bear her assessment out, or does her character prove to be darker and more subversive than she herself might care to admit? Is her willingness to be commandeered by Mrs. Pusey, Monica, or Penelope an indication of passivity, or does it represent a need in its own right? Which comparison is more accurate?


Anita Brookner, Whose Bleak Fiction Won the Booker Prize, Dies at 87

It centres on Edith Hope, a romance novelist who is staying in a hotel on the shores of Lake Geneva. Edith reaches Hotel du Lac in a state of bewildered confusion at the turn of events in her life. After a secret and often lonely affair with a married man and an aborted marriage, she is banished by her friends. They advise her to go on "probation" so as to "grow up", "be a woman", and atone for her mistakes.

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