Synopses & Reviews
It is a dream of electrifying eroticism and inexplicable violence, recounted by a young woman to her analyst, Sigmund Freud. It is a horrifying yet restrained narrative of the Holocaust. It is a searing vision of the wounds of the twentieth century, and an attempt to heal them. Interweaving poetry and case history, fantasy and historical truth-telling, The White Hotel is a modern classic of enduring emotional power that attempts nothing less than to reconcile the notion of individual destiny with that of historical fate.
"What begins as a straightforward fictional re-creation of a Freudian case history ends as an apocalyptic vision of life beyond the realm of psychological science. Thomas' Freud brings to the lyrical, erotic fantasies of his sexually-obsessed, hysterical patient the rational science of the case study. We join in the analytic enterprise as intellectual thriller to discover, with Freud, the death instinct beyond the pleasure principle. But Thomas takes us beyond Freud, beyond Eros and Thanatos, and thus challenges the very substance of the Freudian text. Within the analysand, he suggests, buried within her individual neurosis, is the subtext of history—the Final Solution. And beyond the horror is the transcendent vision of salvation through love in the mythical state of Israel. In this bold, intellectually challenging novel, Thomas goes beyond both history and historical fiction: he explores the shadowy realm of perception and perceiver with breathtaking vision and artistry." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
“A novel of blazing imaginative and intellectual force.”—Salman Rushdie
“To describe this novel as spine-tingling in its indescribable poetic effect would be to trivialize its profoundly tragic theme. Say then that it is heart-stunning.”—The New York Times
“Astonishing . . . elegantly experimental yet quite warm . . . A forthright sensuality mixed with a fine historical feeling for the nightmare moments in modern history, a dreamlike fluidity and quickness.”—John Updike, The New Yorker
“A dazzler that lingers in the mind.”—People
By turns a dream of electrifying eroticism recounted by a young woman to her analyst, Sigmund Freud, and a horrifying yet calmly unsensational narrative of the Holocaust, this PEN Silver Pen winner is now recognized as a modern classic that reconciles the nightmarish with the transcendent.
About the Author
D. M. Thomas is the author of the novel The White Hotel. He has translated works by Akhmatova and Pushkin.