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The White Hotel Paperback – September 1, 1993
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“To describe this novel as spine-tingling in its indescribable poetic effect would be to trivialize its profoundly tragic theme. Say then that it is heart-stunning.”—The New York Times
“Astonishing . . . elegantly experimental yet quite warm . . . A forthright sensuality mixed with a fine historical feeling for the nightmare moments in modern history, a dreamlike fluidity and quickness.”—John Updike, The New Yorker
“A dazzler that lingers in the mind.”—People
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Top Customer Reviews
Sometimes a person just has to come right out and say "This one grabbed me by the rear," and let it go at that. This is a book that really has to be experienced first-hand. My only word of advice is not to give up on the book too soon. It's absolutely unclear in the first 40 or 50 pages where Thomas is taking you and he doesn't present too promising a train ride at that stage. Settle in for the journey. Look out the window and watch as the landscape starts becoming more recognizable. The landmarks with which you thought you were earlier familiar, start revealing themselves in entirely new patterns. For this is a novel about revelation, more than anything else. Readers just have to trust that "all will be revealed" by novel's end, and it is, magnificently.
Thomas performs a near-miraculous feat in this novel. Reading The White Hotel is akin to looking through a an extremely high-powered telescope and what at first looks likes fuzzy, indiscreet blurs, become unbelievably colorful and complex nebulae and galaxies as the instrument's focus is adjusted. The book begins with a long poem, full of erotic imagery and near-incoherent description, that we are startled to learn is written by a woman.Read more ›
I am submitting this review after also reading W.G. Sebald's AUSTERLITZ, another Holocaust novel that stalks its subject from an unexpected angle. It makes me wonder whether the frontal approach of straight narrative is possible any more, but here are two masterpieces that not only succeed brilliantly in their own genre but chart new directions for the modern novel as a whole. Both writers recognize that some events are so powerful as to warp the consciousness of entire generations. While Sebald looks for traces of this trauma like an archaeologist studying past artifacts, Thomas moves in the opposite direction, starting at the beginning of the century, when Freudian psychology made it possible for the first time to trace the rifts in the human psyche that would ultimately lead to such inhumanity.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The White Hotel is one of the most captivating novels that I have ever read. Chapter five is a gripping account of the horror of the Jewish holocaust. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Thomas Severin
I like this book and bought a copy for a friend as a gift. When it arrived, the condition of the book was terrible: The front and back covers had clearly been bent, as if read,... Read morePublished 17 months ago by M. Bircumshaw
The back review of this book starts by claiming,
"To describe this novel as spine-tingling in itâ€™s indescribable poetic effects would be to trivialize its... Read more
A profound and profoundly disturbing story about Lisa a woman of high European culture, an opera soprano who suffers with neurotic symptoms evaluated and treated by Sigmund Freud. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Luc
It is an unusual book. Well written, confusing, thought provoking, exasperating & a one of a kind. Insight into what was known as Hysteria (Sexual) & the root cause of its... Read morePublished on August 21, 2014 by Sandra Bradley
Read it 30 years ago and was overwhelmed by its brutality and poetry. Read it again last month and remain overwhelmed. It is an astonishing book.Published on July 18, 2014 by Andrew Jensen