READERS GUIDE. The questions, discussion topics, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your reading of Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac. Hotel Du Lac [Anita Brookner] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. In the novel that won her the Booker Prize and established her. Anita Brookner Into the rarefied atmosphere of the Hotel du Lac timidly walks Edith Hope, romantic novelist and holder of modest dreams.
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Hotel du Lacby British novelist Anita Brooknerwas published in Brookner’s fourth novel, it won the Booker Prize, Britain’s most prestigious literary award.
Hotel du Lac |
As a result of her first three novels, Brookner had won bgookner reputation for writing about the difficulties faced by middle-aged, single, lonely women, and Hotel du Lac follows this pattern. It also owes something to the genre of popular romance novels; its heroine, Edith Hope, is a successful writer of such novels. She has been dispatched by her friends in London to a hotel in Switzerland because of an unfortunate lapse on her part, although the reader is not initially informed about what the lapse was.
Edith intends to use her temporary stay to finish her latest romance novel, but instead she spends much of her time observing and interacting with the other hotel guests, who include a rich and glamorous but self-centered elderly widow and her daughter; an upper-class young woman who suffers from an eating disorder; a lonely, old and deaf countess; and an enigmatic man named Mr.
The self-effacing, quiet Edith, a romantic soul whose relationships with men are less than satisfactory, spends much time thinking about how a woman ought to behave in order to satisfy her longings for love, as well as recalling in painful detail the reasons for her banishment. In the end, Edith receives a proposition from Mr.
Neville that forces her to think deeply about what she really wants in life and whether she is prepared to compromise her ideals. Her father, who was hitel in Poland and was Jewish, was a company director, and her mother, also Jewish, was a former professional singer.
Her father encouraged her to read, and she was reading the novels of Charles Dickens from the age of seven. Her adolescence was not a happy one, however. Not only was her parents’ marriage a stormy one, but she grew up in the shadow of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, since the family home was often filled brooknfr Jewish refugees from Europe.
Brookner attended King’s College, London, from which she graduated with a bachelor of arts in history in She received a Ph.
Hotel du Lac – Wikipedia
After this she spent three years studying in Paris on a French government scholarship before teaching art history at Reading University from to and at the Courtauld Institute from towhere she specialized in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century French art.
She has written a hrookner of books about art historyincluding WatteauThe Genius of the FutureGreuzeJacques-Louis Davidand the essays contained in Soundings and Romanticism and Its Discontents Brookner did not turn to novel writing until she was in her fifties.
She once told an interviewer, Olga Kenyon, that she began to brookned fiction out of boredom and the wish to review her life. Her first novel, A Start in Lifewas published in In the United States it was published as The Debut. Since then, Brookner has published novels at the rate of one novel a year.
Her fourth novel, Hotel du Lac won the Booker Prize, Britain’s most coveted literary award, and established her reputation on both sides of the Atlantic. As bookner she lives in Chelsea, in West London.
Hotel du Lac begins in late September at a quiet, respectable hotel in Switzerland, where Edith Hope, a thirty-nine-year-old English writer of romantic novels, has just arrived. Edith’s friends have persuaded her to take a month’s break away from her home in London, since they consider her, for some reason as yet undisclosed to the reader, to be in disgrace. Edith hopes to be able to finish her latest novel while staying at the hotel, although her first act upon arrival is to write to David, the married man with whom she is having an affair.
At dinner that night she observes the hotel guests. She notices a slender Englishwoman and her small dog, Kiki; a silent countess, Mme de Bonneuil; and borokner glamorous, energetic English lady who appears to be in her sixties it later transpires that she is seventy-nine and her daughter.
Hotek observations of and interactions with these and other guests, and her consequent reflections on her own life, form the substance of the novel.
After dinner, the glamorous lady invites Edith to join them. Iris Pusey is a wealthy widow from London who regularly comes to hootel Hotel du Lac with her daughter Hoteel for the sole purpose of going on shopping expeditions for luxury items, such as fine clothes and jewelry.
The conversation between Mrs. Pusey and Edith is llac one-sided, since the older lady talks only about herself. Edith does not mind this, however, since she has no desire to share information about herself. Edith’s observation of Mrs.
Hotel du Lac
Pusey sparks her reflections hrookner what kind of behavior is most becoming to a woman, since the outgoing, confident Mrs.
Pusey is the complete opposite of the quiet, self-effacing Edith. Edith also notices the closeness and affection between Mrs. Pusey and Jennifer, and this observation leads her to recall her own very different relationship with her mother, Rosa. In her youth in Vienna, Rosa had been beautiful and flirtatious. But soon after her vu to a university professor she became bored and frustrated.
However, when her husband died in his early fifties, Rosa went to pieces, becoming even more brooknr and unreconciled to her fate. Edith also recalls David, and how they met at a party given by her friend, Penelope. Edith and David exchanged broolner few words at the party, but David then came to her house several hours later, as she guessed he would, and they almost immediately went to bed together.
That night, Edith does not sleep well. In the morning, she talks to Monica, the slender Englishwoman, for the first time. She wonders why Monica is staying at the hotel and thinks she may be recently bereaved or convalescing from an illness.
Later she meets another guest, Mr. Neville, a tall man in a gray suit and panama hat. He invites her for a walk, during which he reveals that he knows she is a writer whose pen name is Vanessa Wilde.
In the evening, Edith hears a scream coming from the corridor. She rushes to the Puseys’ suite, fearing Mrs. Pusey has had a heart attackonly to find that the scream was uttered by Jennifer at the sight of a spider. Neville is in the process of scooping the spider up and throwing it out of the window.
Edith writes to David, telling him she has discovered that Monica, her new friend, suffers from an eating disorder and appears to subsist entirely on cake. Monica is also infertile, and her wealthy, titled husband, whom she hates and fears, has sent her to the hotel to get well so she can produce a child for him.
Neville takes Edith to lunch in a small restaurant high above the lake. He tells her that he owns an electronics firm and that his wife left him several years ago. But he is content being single, since this leaves him free to please himself rather than be concerned about the happiness of another. He believes that selfishness leads to a simple and enjoyable life, and he urges Edith to be more self-centered.
Edith knows there is something wrong with this argument, but she does not dispute it with him. She finds him intelligent and even good-looking. They talk about love, and Edith says that she cannot live fully without it. Neville disputes this position, saying that what she needs is not love but social position and marriage, which he apparently believes is possible without love.
Later at night, Edith writes to David, giving him an account of Mrs. Pusey’s boisterous seventy-ninth birthday party earlier that evening, which alc continued until midnight.
Edith left the party feeling out of sorts. She now remembers her own birthday parties when she was a girl. She made her own cake, and for once enjoyed a semblance of family life as she thinks it ought to be lived. Still feeling uneasy, she recalls the events that brought her to the hotel. Edith had agreed to marry Geoffrey Long, a worthy but dull man whom she had met at one of Penelope’s parties.
She agreed to marry him because she thought that at the age of thirty-nine, it would be her last chance.
Hotel Du Lac Reader’s Guide
She had given up hope of ever getting what she really wanted. But on the day of the wedding, as her chauffeur-driven car approaches the Registry Office where groom and guests are assembled, she changes her mind and asks the chauffeur to drive on to the nearby park. When she later returns to her house, everyone is indignant, and Geoffrey accuses her of brlokner him a laughing stock. She hands him back his ring and says good-bye. Later that day, David comes to visit her, and she tries to make a joke of the entire incident.
Meanwhile her friends, especially Penelope, are making arrangement to send her away to the Hotel du Lac in disgrace.
Back in the present, there is a commotion in the hotel before breakfast the next day. Pusey is upset when she finds Alain, a young member of the hotel staff, in Jennifer’s room, even though all he has done is deliver breakfast. Monica tells her that Mr. Neville has taken a fancy to her and that he is very wealthy, although neither fact holds any interest for Edith.
On a chilly day in October, Mr. Neville takes Edith on a day trip hottel the lake. Over lunch, he unexpectedly asks her to marry him. He says he can offer her social position and security, companionship and shared interests, and that he needs a wife he can trust.
He argues that such a marriage is in her own interests, even though he admits that he does broojner love her and knows that she does not love him.
Later that day, Edith decides to accept his proposal. She writes to David, saying it will be her last letter to him. She explains that she is to marry Mr. Neville, and there is no reason why she and David should meet again. She also reveals that she has not mailed any of her previous letters to him. At six the next morning, she is going to the front desk to buy a stamp when she sees Mr. Neville discreetly leaving Jennifer’s room.
This solves the mystery of the closing door she had kac heard several times in the early morning; she now knows that Mr. Neville has made a habit of staying the night with Jennifer. She tears up her letter to David and makes a reservation for the next flight to London.
Alain is an eighteen-year-old boy who works at the Hotel du Lac.