am 29. Februar 2000
I read this book when I was a teenager and has stuck in my mind since. It is very profound and in reading it again, now that I understand it a little better, warrants a space on my bookshelf with the rest of my favorites. Other reviews here have certainly captured the essence, very powerful, a must read.
am 20. März 1999
His greatest literary work to date has taken the most reprhensible crimes against humanity and conveyed them through a sexual psychosis background/dialogue. The disturbing brilliance of that provokes the reader to examine oneself individually, and to judge humanity corporately. This book is not for the light-hearted. It is profound and deeply intellectual while at the same time subtle and emotionally challenging. One cannot read this book and not have some kind of emotional reaction to it. Upon my first read-through (this is a book that takes several reads to fully absorb all the nuances and insights), I was disturbed by its presentation. On the second read-through, I was amazed by the artistry of the picture painted by the words written. This novel will have a forceful impact upon the reader. You will come away fully embracing the writing or standing in judgement of the writer. There are no inbetween views. This novel takes the story of a young woman as she lives life in the midst of the Holocaust, and conveys the depravaties, the dehumanizing activities, the destructions that were exerted against humanity. A unique combination of massive war crimes and psycholanalysis makes this a book near impossible to put down. If you want a true challenge in your reading, if you want to be provoked out of your personal comfort zone, if you want something to deeply ponder, then look no further than The White Hotel. You'll go to that place and not return the same individual.
am 1. Mai 1998
It is the story of a lovely, very neurotic Jewish girl named Lisa Erdman who goes into therapy with Freud himself because she suffers from a chronic psycho-somatic pain in her left breast and pelvis. He sort of cures her so she can go on to lead a more or less normal life before being killed by the Nazis in a lime pit. Thomas' goal in writing this book was to show that any individual human life, no matter how seemingly insignificant or inconsequential, is priceless. The first half of the book basically chronicles Freud's sessions with Lisa. She retells this recurring dream of hers in which she meets a man on a train going nowhere. They go together to a fluid, serene white hotel, where they make love every night and day, amidst a series of horrible accidents and tragedies that befall many of the other guests staying there. After revealing this dream, Lisa tells Freud about things she remembers from her childhood, and other events, tragic and mediocre, that shaped her life. Freud then interprets the dream, using the things she told him about her life. The result of this deciphering is a great self- revelation for Lisa, as she begins to understand her failed relationship with her father and why this resulted in her ruined marriage; she "learns" of the adulterous relationship between her mother and her uncle, knowledge she already had but had repressed for so long she practically forgot about it. These stresses in her life had caused her neurosis, and confronting these memories makes her pain disappear. Reading Freud's diagnosis becomes almost tedious halfway through the novel, but the length and intricacy of them, as well as the attentive whole-heartedness with which Freud renders his treatment, force the reader to appreciate the amount of work that can go into the betterment of one human life. It is this work, this creation of memories, that gives life its inestimable value. And Thomas very clearly makes the point, at the end of the book, that! every single person killed in the Holocaust, every person that ever lived, has a tale to tell that is just as interesting, just as amazing, just as precious, as Lisa's. This book strengthened a deep appreciation that I already had for life. And this appreciation has dramatically shaped my behavior and thoughts, not only those towards myself, but towards others. As a result, I try to be kind and considerate. I want the people I touch to develop the same appreciation that I have for life. If everybody had this appreciation, there would be no such thing as racism, bureaucrats would help the starving children in Africa with a greater sense of urgency, we wouldn't see the news of senseless violence splattered across the headlines, and there would be no need for the sin we call war.
am 20. November 1999
A porthole into the soul. A surreal vision of life; engulfing a journey into the tormented soul of a single woman along with a journey into the horrors of humanity at its darkest time as experienced by the same woman during the holocaust. It captures the essence of the human spirit and the unique experience of being alive. A must read.
am 28. März 1997
Giving this book a 10 as a rating is sort of like writing my own eulogy; it's something that upsets me but that I feel it's my duty to do. White Hotel is one of the most amazing novels I've ever read. It is a wonderful story, at times erotic, often surreal, unfortunately tragic, always captivating. When you start this novel, you are introduced to a slightly off-balanced Jewish opera singer and her strange and unexplainable neuroses. She chats with her therapist, a very amusing and true-to-life fictional Sigmund Freud. Time goes on, her life goes on, joys come and go, and the War starts in Germany... I didn't sleep for 4 days after reading this book, and if that isn't a recommendation for people strong of heart, I don't know what is
am 17. November 2014
Eines der grossartigsten Bücher, die ich je lesen durfte. Stimme mit dem Rezensenten überein, der empfiel, sich so wenig wie möglich Meinungen darüber zu holen: lieber unbefangen an das Buch herantrauen!
am 15. März 1999
I have read this book three times in the last three years, and have bought it for almost every friend I have. If there is one book you read in your life, read this book! Not only did it change my perspective on the value of human life, and the memories we create daily... but it changed ME in the most profound way. D.M. Thomas is a genius.
am 22. September 1999
Others have written enough that I need not add much. This book is best read knowing as little about it as possible.
I will merely add that over the years I have recommended it to five or six friends, all of whom found it as impressive as I did. Simply one of the finest novels of the past twenty years.
am 14. September 2004
This is the story of Elizabeth Erdman, a professional singer, from the time she was a young woman in the 1920s to her death on 29 September 1941 in Kiev where she was killed like many other Jews by the Nazis. The tale is a subtle maze of poetry and case history, dreams, fantasy and historical facts. The novel opens with a letter written by Sigmund Freud about one of his patients, a young woman singer whose career was interrupted and who wrote "verses" between the staves of a score of "Don Giovanni" showing that she suffers from a severe sexual hysteria.
Indeed, in the first chapter, the reader is confronted with Lisa's "verse", a mixture of pornographic material and hallucinatory dreams of horrible events that took place at a white hotel set in the Austrian Alps. Then follows an account in prose of how the patient allegedly met Freud's son who took her to the white hotel where she experienced a nearly constant sado-masochistic love making. There she also "witnessed" several tragedies: the hotel catching fire, people perishing in a landslide or in a cable-car accident.
Following this account, a fictional Freudian case study partly explains Lisa's hallucinations through a careful analysis of her youth. After Freud's psychotherapy, Lisa appears to have regained her sanity because as of the spring of 1929, she resumes her career as a singer and becomes quite a renown artist. The reader follows her from Milan to Vienna where she marries Victor. Her voice gradually fades in quality and her final move is to Odessa before World War II and before the Nazis manage to occupy this Russian city.
A book to experience rather than simply to read, a haunting and strange novel, its plot woven like a tapestry, full of beautiful and sad characters.
am 18. März 1997
Mr. Thomas is a poet, not a novelist, and has bent the latter art form to his will in this once in a lifetime combination of Freudianism and a personal view of the bestiality of Nazism and the Holocaust. Akin to great poetry, the imagery and presepctive of the central character of the White Hotel grows more powerful in a second and third reading. Thomas has, somehow, managed to bring the insanity and brutality of a terrible story to the reader with elegance and a style of pen that does not seem to fit the subject matter but makes the horror all the more compelling. This combination is not seen in other works of art and for that reason alone this is a book for the ages