Monday, September 23, 2013
Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
Hotel du Lac
by Anita Brookner
(originally published in 1984)
Source: personal copy
Ali's Brookner Reading Month
I actually finished just under the wire on July 28, but never managed a post.
Patience is a virtue (at least that's what my mother always says), and that virtue was certainly rewarded during this reading experience. Switzerland's Hotel du Lac was "known as a place which was unlikely to attract unfavourable attention, a place guaranteed to provide a restorative sojourn for those whom life had mistreated or merely fatigued." As the novel slowly unfolds, the history and circumstances of each guest at this luxury hotel is gradually revealed as they go about their daily routines and interactions with one another.
The writing is lovely and full of insight. This is my second Brookner novel... I wonder if all are so well- suited to a contemplative mood.
Hotel du Lac is a quiet gem!
"The beautiful day had within it the seeds of its own fragility: it was the last day of summer."
"Good women always think it is their fault when someone else is being offensive. Bad women never take the blame for anything."
"In her last months, she lay in bed, wearing the silk peignoir my father bought her on their honeymoon in Venice, not caring, perhaps not noticing, that the lace was torn, the pale blue faded to grey, and when she raised her eyes from her book, her eyes too were faded from blue to grey, and full of dreams, longings, disenchantment. My mother's fantasies, which remained unchanged all her life, taught me about reality. And although I keep reality in the forefront of my mind, and refer to it with grim constancy, I sometimes wonder if it serves me any better than it served my mother."
"She knew from the outset what some unfortunates never learn; she knew that the best is there to be taken, although there may not be enough to go round."