Hotel du Lac (1984)

by Anita Brooker

It is not until you're well along in Hotel du Lac that you find out why Edith Hope's London friends have exiled her to a Swiss hotel. Was her unspecified transgression the affair that 39-year-old Edith, an unmarried writer of romance novels, has been having with a married man? No, not that, and when readers do find out what she did, some may think it a courageous act.

Hotel du Lac is a quiet book, filled with the thoughts and observations of its quiet, self-effacing protagonist. Edith contemplates her situation as well as that of the few other off-season guests, mostly female: a self-centered mother and daughter, a deaf older woman neglected by her offspring, and the anorexic wife of a successful businessmen. As she studies their lives and tries to decide a future direction for hers, Edith has to come to grips with not getting what she believes is most important, loving and being loved. At least she can say that she didn't settle.

Brookner, one of England's most celebrated novelists, won the Booker Prize for Hotel du Lac.


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