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Summary

Into the rarefied atmosphere of the Hotel du Lac timidly walks Edith Hope, romantic novelist and holder of modest dreams. Edith has been exiled from home after embarrassing herself and her friends. She has refused to sacrifice her ideals and remains stubbornly single. But among the pampered women and minor nobility Edith finds Mr Neville and her chance to escape from a life of humiliating spinsterhood is renewed...

©1984 Anita Brookner (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Hotel du Lac

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The very best Anita Brookner!

I have read the other review of this book and could not disagree with it more! Although you are obviously only seeing the protagonists' lives on a superficial level, I found that I thought afterwards about them and where they were heading... Anna Massey reads superbly and she bought the rights to the book and played the 'heroine' in the TV play so perhaps I'm partly swayed by that because the characters were perfectly cast.

I've also read almost all Anita Brookner's books and for me this is the best.

4 people found this helpful

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Jane Austen meets Mills & Boone

Was this really written as recently as 1984?
I remember reading it when I was young and inexperienced in life - I wonder what I made of it then..... Probably enjoyed the whimsical romance of it all - it seemed very popular with everyone.

However coming to it again after half a lifetime I now can't believe what stilted, dated tosh it is.
Unrealistic scenes, improbable cliched characters....astoundingly unconvincing dialogue:
"You don't love me..."
"No - I don't love you - but you have got under my guard. You have moved and touched me in a way I no longer wish to be touched...."
My Darcy - how say such a thing to such a vapid colourless heroine as poor Edith?!!
So two dimensional.....

I think this book was not written for someone like me....
I grow old, I grow old, etc, etc.

2 people found this helpful

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Hotel du Lac 5*

Beautiful story of self-awareness and love. Expertly crafted and narrated. Timeless in its theme and worthy winner of the Booker prize.

1 person found this helpful

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I thought this was awful

The performance was fine, but this is one of the worst books I can recall reading. The female characters are all hideous, the male-female relationships very mysogynistic, and the author seems to dislike women, as her main character also states she does. I can see it is supposed to be anti-feminist, I just don't understand why anyone would want to read it. It's like a deeply uncomfortable mills and boon but with better prose and a few shallow art historical references that go nowhere.

1 person found this helpful

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A very cosy tale

Anna Massey is always a joy to listen to. The story is full of characters beautifully described.

1 person found this helpful

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Just right

Anna Massey captures Anita Brookner's elegant prose precisely. As ever with Brookner, the story is deceptively slight but delivers delightful insights.

1 person found this helpful

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Perfect

I had long wanted to read this book and it's been an sbsolute pleasure listening to it being read by the wonderful Anna Massey. It's beautifully written. No excess. Sheet magic. Literature at last.

1 person found this helpful

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Utterly wonderful writing

Beautifully written and read, I really cannot recommend this short novel enough. The author compresses such life into not only our heroine, but into all of the strange guests at Hotel du Luc.

1 person found this helpful

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Utterly Beguiling

What did you like most about Hotel du Lac?

I read this novel thirty years ago and enjoyed it. On listening to it now, the story and the prose style, like the very finest wine, has improved with age. Anita Brookner writes about women who have missed their chance at happiness with such perception, and the sense of misty solitude of the grand, forlorn hotel is palpably loaded with longing and unfulfilled desire which captures the mood of protagonist, Edith. The book evokes an age, not so very distant from today, but a time which now seems to have vanished. Brooker's grasp of the smallest detail to illustrate the greater theme of her story, that of the life imposed on or adopted by women in a hostile world, is telling. The novel is, of course, a classic of the twentieth century.

What other book might you compare Hotel du Lac to, and why?

Hotel du Lac could be compared to work by Elizabeth Jane Howard. Neither Brookner nor Howard could be described as overtly feminist writers but they see the world from a woman's point of view: middle and upper middle class women who are intelligent and perceptive and use their brains and emotions to navigate their way through a male dominated world, sometimes with a degree of personal fulfillment, sometimes not.

Which character – as performed by Anna Massey – was your favourite?

Anna Massey brings all the characters to life, even the male characters. She did, I believe, play the role of Edith in a television version of Hotel du Lac in a BBC television adaptation of the narrative and is, therefore, the ideal choice to recreate the book as an audio version.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

My reaction was one of deep satisfaction with the delicacy and also the power of Brookner's prose style: her eye for detail: her sharply defined characters. I laughed at the free spending, beautifully turned out but avaricious Mrs Pusey; I fumed at Edith's selfish lover, and her presumptuous, judgmental suitor; I was deeply satisfied by the resolution to the story.

Any additional comments?

Take the time to listen to Hotel du Lac. It is in its sonorous way a breakthrough for the way in which one woman finally decides, on her own terms, what is best for her regardless of the conventions of the time when her choice might be regarded as a great sacrifice.

3 people found this helpful

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What a treat!

On the occasion of Anita Brookner's death this month I turned again to her Booker Prize winning novel but not to the print version forgotten on my bookshelf for decades but to this audio book. I didn't remember Brookner's intriguing intelligent and sharp-tongued diction that alone is a pleasure but presented by Anna Massey it is a pure delight!

1 person found this helpful