Hotel du Lac  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Hotel du Lac is a Booker Prize winning novel (1984) by Anita Brookner.


Romantic novelist Edith Hope is staying in a hotel on the shores of Lake Geneva, where her friends have advised her to retreat following an unfortunate incident. There she meets other English visitors, including Mrs Pusey and her daughter Jennifer, and an attractive middle-aged man, Mr Neville.

Edith reaches Hotel du Lac in a state of bewildered confusion at the turn of events in her life. A secret and often lonely affair with a married man and an aborted marriage later, she is banished by her friends, who advise her to go on "probation" so as to "grow up," and "be a woman," atoning for her mistakes.

Edith comes to the hotel swearing not to change. The silent charms of the hotel and her observations of the guests there all tug at Edith with questions of her identity, forcing her to examine who she is and what she has been. At the hotel, she observes people from different walks of their lives — Mrs Pusey and her daughter, Jennifer and their love for each other and the splendid oblivious lives they live; Mme de Bonneuil, who lives at the hotel in solitary expulsion from her son; and Monica, who came to the hotel, acceding to her husband's demands. She falls for the ambiguous smile of Mr Neville, who asks for her hand. She rejects the possibility of a relationship with him when she realises he is an incorrigible womaniser. This also finally leads her to realize what her life is expected to be. Once again, she breaks chains and decides to take things in her own hands.

Awards and nominations

The novel won the Booker Prize in 1984.

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

The novel was adapted for television by Christopher Hampton and was produced by the BBC and A&E Television Networks in 1986; it aired in the UK on 2 March 1986. It was directed by Giles Foster, produced by Sue Birtwistle with music by Carl Davis and cinematography by Kenneth MacMillan. The televised play stars Anna Massey as Edith Hope and Denholm Elliott as Philip Neville with Googie Withers, Julia McKenzie, Patricia Hodge, Irene Handl and Barry Foster. It was filmed at the Park Hotel, Vitznau on Lake Lucerne.

The TV play was nominated for 9 BAFTA Awards and won three for Best Actress (Anna Massey), Best Film Editor (Dick Allen) and Best Single Drama (Sue Birtwistle and Giles Foster).

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hotel du Lac" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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