Anita Brookner (1928 - ) is a contemporary British novelist and French Romantic art historian known to write novels which explore moral, social, and gender issues and cultural diversity similarly to her great influences Henry James and Edith Wharton. With the award of the Booker Prize for Hotel du Lac (1984), it draws heavily on class distinctions and their weight in European society. European class structures predate the rise of capitalism and industry. The upper class, or aristocracy, is established through heredity; thus, wealth alone is not enough to qualify one for membership. The novel is set in the early 1980s, to the Critic, Gard: a period when European economies were booming and the middle classes were seeing massive increases in their…show more content… According to Peta Mayer, her interest in the topic of humiliation and failure, she said that in England her books are criticized for being depressing. She has attributed this to her semi-outsider position in England and her affinity with French life. While some critics fault the lack of thematic variety in her works, many regard Brookner’s elegant prose and detailed descriptions of place, her use of literary devices common to Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century French literature, and her confessional tone as features that elevate her fiction above the romance genre.
Hotel du Lac begins in late September at a quiet, respectable hotel in Switzerland where Edith Hope, a thirty-nine year old English writer of romantic novels has just arrived:
Edith hope, a writer of romantic fiction under a more thrusting name, remained standing at the window, as if an access of goodwill could pierce the mysterious opacity with which she had been presented, although she had promised a tonic cheerfulness, a climate devoid of illusions, an utterly commonsensical, not to say pragmatic, set of circumstances-quiet hotel…to forget the unfortunate lapse which had led to this brief exile.