CPE :: Lesson 33



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ACTIVITY 156: You are going to read three extracts about Anita Brookner, an English language novelist and art historian. For questions 1-5, choose the best alternative according to what you read. Then check the correct answers.

Anita Brookner describes unhappiness and loneliness with unsettling skill. She takes us into the strange hotel looking over Lake Geneva and reminds us of other curious, lost hotels where people live in dreams and falsehoods, of the Hotel California and D .M. Thomas's White Hotel in particular. Her heroine is her best to date: withdrawn, precise, having an affair with a married man but remaining one of the observers of life who admire those with confidence. Her advantage over Anita Brookner's other heroines for me is that she has more sense of humour. The characters she half-envies she also half-despises. She describes their foibles with great wit. Indeed, I was left in no doubt as to who, of all the characters, is the most enviable - Edith Hope, who has a firm hold upon her own complicated identity.


One of the nicest presents I had for my birthday was a copy of "Hotel du Lac". It's by Anita Brookner - you know, the woman who won the Booker Prize last year. I enjoyed reading it very much, and I think you would, too. It's just your kind of book. It's about a woman novelist who goes to stay in a hotel in Switzerland and-but I won't spoil it for you. I'll send it to you, if you like. Or perhaps you could try and get a copy from your local library - although I suspect there might well be a long waiting-list for it! I know it's very popular.


Anita Brookner, who is an international authority on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century painting, teaches at the Courtauld Institute of Art. In 1968 she was Slade Professor at Cambridge, the first woman ever to hold this position. She is the author of "Watteau", "The Genius of the Future"; "Greuze"; "Jacques-Louis David"; and three other novels, "A Start in Life", "Providence" and "Look at Me". With characteristic wit and beautifully observed detail, Anita Brookner has created perhaps her most memorable heroine yet. Edith Hope, as reluctant to be recruited by the ultra-feminine as by feminists, adept as a romantic writer yet contending with her own puzzled view of romance, comes marvellously to life in this humorous and touching new novel.



In all three extracts, "Hotel du Lac" is...


A.     commended for its wit and humour.
B.     strongly recommended.
C.     said to have a rather interesting heroine.
   described as very popular.


Our impression of Edith Hope is of...


A.     a jealous, sensuous woman.
B.     an ardent and passionate feminist.
C.     a simple, romantic lady.
   a complex and self-contradictory character.


What do extracts 1 and 3 both do?


A.     Give an outline of the plot.
B.     Make much of the leading character's personality.
C.     Make mention of the heroine's sense of humour.
   Compare "Hotel du Lac" with other novels.


Which of these statements is true?


A.     Extract 1 gives the most objective information about the author.
B.     Extract 2 expresses the most subjective reaction to the book.
C.     Extract 3 tells us most about the setting for the novel.
   All extracts employ a fairly formal tone.


 Which of the three extracts could be from the back-cover information about the novel?


A.     Extract 1.
B.     Extract 2.
C.     Extract 3.
   None of them.


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