– 2018/153 – 48 years of books (1984)

Hotel du Lac (Anita Brookner)

I can’t believe that nobody had ever suggested this book to me before… why??  It is simply brilliant.  Not in a shout out brilliant, but in a modest, subtle, elegant way brilliant.  Yes, it’s an elegant book, that’s it.

Edith writes romantic novels under a pseudonym but her life is anything but, she has a good social life, her own home and a good income,  an ongoing affair with a married man, and has just ditched another one at the altar… this last act is too much for her friends who despatch her to the Hotel du Lac, sombre, uneventful, traditional… in order for her to get back ‘to normal’.

She tries to fit in, to do the expected, she meets all sorts of eccentric people that are guests too at the hotel and none of them is like what they seem, and in the end it is them who unknowingly help her decide what she wants in her life… security or love or herself… you’ll have to read it to find out…

The writing is superb – Anita Brookner won the Booker Prize for this novel – not a word is wasted… and it’s funny too, blink and you miss funny but the humour is there and it’s clever and understated.  Just brilliant.

I will totally read more of her writing when this blasted ‘quest’ is over.

“My idea of absolute happiness is to sit in a hot garden all, reading, or writing, utterly safe in the knowledge that the person I love will come home to me in the evening. Every evening.’

“The company of their own sex, Edith reflected was what drove many women into marriage.”

“You have no idea how promising the world begins to looks once you have decided to have it all for yourself. And how much healthier your decisions are once they become entirely selfish. It is the simplest thing in the world to decide what you want to do – or, rather, what you don’t want to do – and just to act on that.”

 

The list so far

2018   Mr Hanckock and the mermaid

2017 – Magari domain resto (Lorenzo Maroni)

2016 – Upstream (Mary Oliver)

2015   –  Reasons to stay alive (Matt Haig)

2014 – Annihilation (Jeff VanderMeer)

2013 – Careless people (Sarah Churchwell)

2012 – Wonder (RJ Palacia)

2011 – The Paris Wife (Paula McLain)

2010

2009 – Let the great world spin (Colum McCann)

2008 – The White Tiger (Aravind Adiga)

2007

2006 –  The Road (Cormac McCarthy)

2005 – Never let me go (Kazuo Ishiguro)

2004 – American Gods (Nail Gainman)

2003

2002 – Everything is illuminated (Jonathan Safran Foer)

2001

2000 – Coram Boy (Jamila Gavin)

1999

1998

1997 – Paradise (Toni Morrison)

1996 – Wilfred and Eileen (Jonathan Smith)

1995

1994

1993

1992

1991- Regeneration (Pat Barker)

1990 – Darkness visible (William Styron)

1989 – Like water to chocolate (Laura Esquivel)

1988

1987 – Norwegian Wood (Haruki Murakami)

1986

1985­ – Oranges are not the only fruit (Jeanette Winterson)

1984  – Hotel du Lac (Anita Brookner)

1983 –  Heartburn (Nora Ephron)

1982  – The colour purple (Alice Walker)

1981

1980 – Emmeline (Judith Rossiter)

1979– The bloody chamber (Angela Carter)

1978

1977

1976

1975 – First loves last rites (Ian McEwan)

1974

1973 –  the honorary consul (Graham Greene)

1972

1971  – Reunion (Fred Uhlman)

1970  – A slipping down life (Anne Tyler)

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