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Elizabeth Bowen’s first novel brilliantly captures the inflammatory mixture of passion and repression among well-heeled British tourists on the Italian Riviera. Their luxurious seaside hotel seems a closed and comfortable world, marked by dramas no more momentous than tennis games, picnics, and idle gossip. But for the young women of the 1920s, facing a dearth of young men after the first World War, it is a battleground for the clash of tradition and modernity. As rebellious young Sydney Warren tests the boundaries of her incomplete freedom—and becomes obsessed with a clever and charming older woman—she increasingly bewilders her suitors, her handlers, and herself. With the psychological precision and command of atmosphere that marks Bowen’s most famous novels, The Hotel depicts a collection of privileged men and women in determined denial of a world that is falling apart around them.
About the Author
ELIZABETH BOWEN was born in Dublin in 1899, the only child of an Irish lawyer and landowner. Her book Bowen's Court (1942) is the history of her family and their house in County Cork. Throughout her life, she divided her time between London and Bowen's Court, which she inherited. She wrote many acclaimed novels and short story collections, was awarded the CBE in 1948, and was made a Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature in 1965. She died in 1973.
“A writer of genius. . . . Bowen’s very first novel shows in bud her later sophistication, relentless eye, stern judgment, sense of comedy.” —London Review of Books
“If there is anything to the catchphrase ‘felt life,’ it is here—in Elizabeth Bowen’s munificence of detail, the fine closeness of the atmosphere which she creates.” —Peter Ackroyd
“[Bowen] is in the first rank of the brilliant women writers.” —The New York Times