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Authors: D. M. Thomas

The White Hotel

BOOK: The White Hotel

Praise for D. M. Thomas and
The White Hotel

“Authoritative and imaginatively daring…I quickly came to feel that I had found that book, that mythical book, that would explain us to ourselves.”

—Leslie Epstein,
The New York Times Book Review

“This brilliant, haunting novel…is compelling, awash with imagery and peopled with characters whose lives are infinitely beautiful and infinitely sad.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“The White Hotel
is a strange and exciting novel—beautifully written, with a care and elegance rare these days, and gloriously original, both in form and content.”

—John Gardner

“The White Hotel
is an ambitious and original work whose purpose is to show the value of any single human life.”

Chicago Tribune

“An extraordinary book, repellent, powerful, tragic…This is a book you don’t read so much as experience.”

Boston Sunday Globe

“This novel is a reminder that fiction can amaze as well as inform, that an imaginative leap can sometimes take flight.”


“Repetition, stunningly enacted in imagery that continually circles in on itself, is the method by which Thomas binds us to his prose. The white hotel is the leitmotif…The richness of this book is reminiscent of a painstakingly woven tapestry, one can focus on the details but they must be absorbed by the whole.”

The New Republic



D. M. Thomas was born in Cornwall in 1935. He was educated there, in Australia and at New College, Oxford, where he gained a first in English. He has been a teacher and lecturer, and is now a full-time writer. His other novels are
The Flute Player
Lying Together
Flying in to Love
Pictures at an Exhibition
Eating Pavlova
(1994), and
Lady with a Laptop
(1995). Thomas is well-known for his translations of Russian poetry, including
The Bronze Horseman and Other Poms
by Alexander Pushkin (Penguin, 1982), and for his autobiographical
Memories and Hallucinations
The White Hotel
received the 1981 Cheltenham Prize and the PEN Silver Pen Award. He has also won the
Los Angeles Times
Fiction Prize.

D. M. Thomas


Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,

Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published in Great Britain by Victor Gollancz Ltd 1981

First published in the United States of America by The Viking Press 1981

Published in Penguin Books 1993

29   30   28

Copyright © D. M. Thomas, 1981

All rights reserved

The author gratefully acknowledges the use in Part V of material from Anatoli Kuznetsov’s
Babi Yar
(New York: Dell Publishers, 1967; London: Jonathan Cape, 1970), particularly the testimony of Dina Pronicheva.

Section 1 of “Don Giovanni” originally appeared as a self-contained poem in the magazine
New Worlds

The lines from W. B. Yeats’s “Meditations in Time of Civil War” from
Collected Poems
by William Butler Yeats, copyright 1928 by Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., renewed 1956 by Georgie Yeats, are reprinted with the kind permission of Macmillan Publishing Co. and A. P. Watt.


Thomas, D. M.

The white hotel.

ISBN: 978-1-101-65150-6

1. Freud, Sigmund, 1856–1939—Fiction. 2. Ferenczi, Sandor, 1873–1933—

Fiction. I. Title.

PZ4.T4544Wh 1981 [PR6070.H58] 823’.914 80–52004

Printed in the United States of America

Set in Weiss

Designed by Kathryn Parise

Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law.

Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

Author’s Note

One could not travel far in the landscape of hysteria—the “terrain” of this novel—without meeting the majestic figure of Sigmund Freud. Freud becomes one of the dramatis personae, in fact, as discoverer of the great and beautiful modern myth of psychoanalysis. By myth, I mean a poetic, dramatic expression of a hidden truth; and in placing this emphasis, I do not intend to put into-question the scientific validity of psychoanalysis.

The role played by Freud in this narrative is entirely fictional. My imagined Freud does, however, abide by the generally known facts of the real Freud’s life, and I have sometimes quoted from his works and letters,
. The letters of the Prologue, and all the passages relating to psychoanalysis (including Part III, which takes the literary form of a Freudian case history), have no factual basis. Readers not familiar with the genuine case histories—which
are masterly works of literature, apart from everything else—are referred to volumes 3, 8 and 9 of the Pelican Freud Library (Penguin Books, 1974, 1977, 1979).



Author’s Note



Don Giovanni


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