Friday 9 June 2017

Hotel du Lac

I come, as I always knew I would, to Hotel du Lac. It's a faintly daunting prospect. You'll forgive me if I take it slowly, looking for the moment at some cover images. This is a fruitful enterprise, as Hotel du Lac is undoubtedly Brookner's most popular and reissued book. (I talked about its dominance in an earlier post.)

To begin: the first UK edition, and the most famous. Are we in the South of France? The light seems too bright. Is that a palm tree?

Now for some later UK editions, and the balcony motif has become established, even ritualised - to the extent almost that it has left the original behind. Look at the second, monochrome image below, from Penguin. It's a distant simulacrum. Is this a nineteenth-century novel?

The posthumous republication of most of the Brookner corpus in 2016 yielded a set of largely successful black-and-white images. But Hotel du Lac's dominance was signalled with a (faded, colour) cover, showing a (vintage) car travelling beside a lake:

I don't dislike the image, though I would have liked to see the balcony tradition continued. If anything, the most recent cover makes me think of one of the paperback covers of Ishiguro's The Unconsoled, a novel that  Brookner championed. But that's just me.

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