i just finished the second booker prize winner of my lifetime, anita brookner’s hotel du lac, and to be completely honest i was pretty underwhelmed by it. i think there is an expectation with booker winners [and nobel, pulitzer, etc] that there will be something in there that will blow the readers away. it could be the story, it could be the descriptions of the setting, it could be anything, but there is always that one thing that sets a big prize winner apart from its contemporaries. and i just didn’t get that feeling with this book.
hotel du lac is the story of edith, a writer from england who escapes to the picturesque hotel in switzerland following a small scandal at home, a scandal that is not fully revealed until the second half of the book. at the hotel she is expected to rest and work on her next book to give the scandal some time to blow over. while she is at the hotel she observes and interacts with the fellow guests, learning about their lives and how they have come to be at this hotel at the end of the summer season.
i think my biggest thing was that the book dragged quite a bit. it’s not a long book at all, but it felt like it took me ages to finish it. and when i got to the final chapter, i found out that it was set over the course of two weeks! i could have sworn edith was at that hotel for months, because that’s how long and drawn out it felt. maybe i’m not appreciative of “good literature”, but with life & times of michael k, i could see why the book had earned so much praise. i just didn’t get that with this one. brookner’s writing is certainly very nice and poetic, but this wasn’t the book for me.
‘i know, you see, that whatever you feel for me, or perhaps i should say, once felt for me, i am, as swann said of odette, not your type’
i think that perhaps hotel du lac was just not my type. and sometimes that’s ok.
my goodreads rating: 2 out of 5 // average rating is 3.54
next up: i was told there’d be cake, essays by sloane crosley. i’m looking forward to something a little lighter this next month or so.
have you read hotel du lac? what did i miss?