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Description - The Little Hotel by Christina Stead

People live year after year in a hotel like this. We have their police papers, we know their sicknesses and family troubles; people come to confide in you. They tell you things they would not tell their own parents and friends, not even their lawyers and doctors.

After the Second World War, bizarre characters from across the ruined continent have gathered at the 'fourth-rate' Hotel Swiss-Touring by Lake Geneva. Some are residents, while other guests have come for the season. In the claustrophobic atmosphere of the little hotel, their eccentricities and their desperation-their jealousies and vindictiveness-are all too apparent.

First published in 1973, shortly before Christina Stead's return to Australia, The Little Hotel is a sharp, witty satire of changing lives in postwar Europe.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781925355734
ISBN-10: 192535573X
Format: Paperback / softback
(198mm x 129mm x mm)
Pages: 240
Imprint: The Text Publishing Company
Publisher: Text Publishing
Publish Date: 3-Oct-2016
Country of Publication: Australia

Other Editions - The Little Hotel by Christina Stead

Book Reviews - The Little Hotel by Christina Stead

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Book Review: Little Hotel by Christina Stead - Reviewed by (06 Nov 2016)

3.5 stars The Little Hotel is the tenth novel published by Australian author, Christina Stead. This edition is published under the Text Classics banner and sports a gorgeous colourful cover by the talented W H Chong, as well as an introduction by poet and author, Lisa Gorton. While it was not published until 1973, Stead began writing it, or some version of it, in the early 1950s, based on her diaries of her time in Europe with her partner, communist sympathiser, William Blake, in the fifties.

Mme Selda Bonnard runs Hotel Swiss-Touring with her husband, Roger and their multi-cultural staff. Their guests are equally diverse, and Selda’s observations about them and of their interactions form the bulk of this novel. It’s just a few years after the end of World War Two, and Swiss-Touring is a cheap lake-shore hotel that caters to tourists as well as longer-term residents.

Against a backdrop of paranoia about the possible Russian invasion and the difficulties of retrieving funds from their native lands, the hotel’s guests, past and present, are described in potted histories and anecdotes; their petty crises and domestic dramas are filled with snobbery, racism, jealousy and insecurity. Many of the guests are eccentric; one turns out to be crazy; others may even be dangerous.

Stead evokes post-war Europe with consummate ease, firmly establishing the era with both her characters’ ideas, opinions and dilemmas, and the political and financial situation. This neat little volume will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction with a good dose of satire. Classic fiction from an award-winning Australian author.


Author Biography - Christina Stead

Christina Stead was born in 1902 in Sydney's south. After graduating from high school in 1917, she attended Sydney Teachers' College on a scholarship. She subsequently took a series of teaching and secretarial positions before travelling to London, aged twenty-six. There she met Wilhelm Blech (later William Blake), a married American writer and a broker at the firm where she worked: they soon became lovers. They spent many years travelling and working in Europe and the United States, and eventually married in 1952. Stead's first books, The Salzburg Tales and Seven Poor Men of Sydney, were published in 1934 to positive reviews in England and the United States. Her fourth work, The Man Who Loved Children, has been hailed as a `masterpiece' by Jonathan Franzen, among others. In total, Stead wrote almost twenty novels and short-story collections. Stead returned to Australia in 1969 after forty years abroad for a fellowship at the Australian National University. She resettled permanently in Australia in 1974 and was the first recipient of the Patrick White Award that year. Christina Stead died in Sydney in 1983, aged eighty. She is widely considered to be one of the most influential Australian authors of the twentieth century.

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