Anita Brookner’s Booker Prize-winning novel focuses on a novelist who has taken refuge from life in a hotel on the misty shores of Lake Geneva.

Edith Hope writes romance novels under a pseudonym. When her life begins to resemble the plots of her own novels, however, Edith flees to Switzerland, where the quiet luxury of the Hotel du Lac promises to restore her to her senses. But instead of peace and rest, Edith finds herself sequestered at the hotel with an assortment of love’s casualties and exiles. She also attracts the attention of a worldly man determined to release her unused capacity for mischief and pleasure.

The Booker Prize 1984
Published by
Jonathan Cape
Publication date
Anita Brookner

Anita Brookner

About the Author

Over the course of 28 years, Anita Brookner wrote 24 books. She published her first novel, A Start in Life, in 1981 and her final one, Strangers, in 2009.
More about Anita Brookner

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‘I read somewhere that this is a study in misogyny, but none of the men are particularly nice, none redeemable, including David and our would-be-hero Mr Neville, who steps in as Edith’s saviour only to prove to he is anything but. 

As someone who has criticised novels in the past for being too slow, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this, as very little happens, but I found the writing drew me in, held my breath, and wouldn’t let me go until Edith moved towards the unshackling of herself and returning to the UK. 

A couple of things were particularly pleasing. Firstly I saw the humour, which completely passed me by in, for example, The Milkman. The naughty dog who has been taught disordered eating by his owner, the long-suffering hotelier M. Huber closing his eyes, the bed covered in hundreds of cushions. 

Secondly, a passage from this book was used for the comprehension exercise in my English Language O Level in 1986 and I’ve never forgotten it – in fact it jumped right out at me when I read it some 38 years later! I can’t believe I waited this long to read it. Recommended.’ 

(Extracted from a posted comment on the Booker Prizes Book Club by Maria Thomas)

Other nominated books by Anita Brookner

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