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Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner

1985, Triad Grafton

Anita Brookner ( 1928 - 2016)

Although a Booker Prize winner, Hotel du Lac is not my favorite Brookner. Possibly the dreary bleakness of the veal-coloured carpets and drapes, the fog-filled landscapes and the aimless characters mirrored too closely my mood the day I read the novel.

I may be confusing fiction with fact, but Brookner seems to be describing herself in main character Edith Hope, who thinks about "the question of what behaviour most becomes a woman, the question around which she had written most of her novels, ...the question she had failed to answer and which she now saw to be of the most vital importance." 40

Brookner probes impressively into the feelings of this woman who doesn't fit in with the people around her and can't quite figure them out (admittedly they're superficial) or get up enough gusto to really care, beyond observing them for her books. She does yearn for true love but seems definitively limited to a choice between an affair with a married man or marrying for convenience. A "Mr. Right" offers Edith a brief glimmer of hope for Harlequin happiness, until she notices "in a flash, but for all time, the totality of his mouse-like seemliness." 129

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