The Hotel by Elizabeth Bowen

The Hotel by Elizabeth Bowen is the author’s first book, but it certainly doesn’t read like a first effort. It was first published in 1927 but my edition is from 1950. I really enjoyed this one although not a lot happens, it’s all about the relationships between the various hotel guests.

The setting is a hotel on the Italian Riviera which is frequented by well off English people. It isn’t long after the end of World War 1 so there are far more females around than males in society in general. Friends fall out, one young woman has a rather intense relationship with an older woman. An unmarried vicar arrives and upsets some guests as he inadvertently uses their bathroom, he’s never forgiven but he’s completely oblivious to it. It’s the funniest episode in the book. Some people are completely delusional, would be horrified to know what others think of them. People are ‘dropped’. Those who should know better fall in and out of love at the drop of a hat. There’s nothing at all earth shattering, but it is entertaining.

Elizabeth Bowen wrote far more books than I had realised, you can see her output here.

I do enjoy a hotel setting, I suppose because it gives the writer scope for gathering together odd characters who are out of their usual milieu, and everyone is a bit different from usual when they’re on holiday. I seem to have read a lot of books with hotel settings over the years so I might devote a blogpost to them – sometime.

4 thoughts on “The Hotel by Elizabeth Bowen

  1. This is a new author to me, but I really like the sound of the setting and characters in this book. I guess I now have another list of books to look for in my searches!

  2. I am drawn to “hotel” novels as well, and will put this one on my list. I must confess that I did not like Bowen’s The Heat of the Day at all, though I did finish it. I love her short stories, though, and have a complete collection.
    Thanks for providing the link to Bowen’s other novels. I see a number I’m interested in. And I certainly didn’t know that her first novel was written as early as 1927. That fact intrigues me no end.

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