My book club will be discussing this gem of a book in March and I am thrilled to be finished with it early so I can develop some meaty discussion questions. Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac was a Booker Prize winner and I found it similar in many ways to Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach. Both center on a very small period of time when a critical event happens in the life of the main character and it’s clear that nothing will ever be the same. They’re both incredibly British (that’s a good thing for me!) and both use geography to represent the changes the characters manifest.
For Brookner the rather gentrified hotel in question is at the end of the tourist travel season and is slowing to its off-season pace complete with eccentric guests. The main character rather slowly reveals her reasons for hiding away and pondering the nature of love. That sounds gooey and potentially overwrought, but it’s not. It’s real and it’s honest.
Some reviewers consider the book too slow (it’s not necessarily for the plot-driven reader), but I found it absolutely spot on in its reflections on who we love and why we choose them. I’d love to post more but I fear it would give even more away than is helpful. Read this book— it’s a gem!