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Hotel de Dream (2007)

av Edmund White

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
354957,254 (3.6)22
In a damp, old sussex castle, American literary phenomenon Stephen Crane lies on his deathbed, wasting away from tuberculosis at the age of twenty-eight. The world-famous author of The Red Badge of Courage has retreated to England with his wife, Cora, in part to avoid gossip about her ignominious past as the proprietress of a Florida bordello, the Hotel de Dream. Though Crane's days are numbered, he and Cora live riotously, running up bills they'll never be able to pay, receiving visitors like Henry James and Joseph Conrad, and even planning a mad dash to Germany's Black Forest, where Cora hopes a leading TB specialist will provide a miracle cure. Then, in the midst of the confusion and gathering tragedy of their lives, Crane begins dictating a strange novel. The Painted Boy draws from Crane's erstwhile journalist days in New York in the 1890s, a poignant story about a boy prostitute and the married man who ruins his own life to win the boy's love. Crane originally planned the book as a companion piece to Maggie, Girl of the Streets, but abandoned it when literary friends convinced him that such scandalous subject matter would destroy his career. Now, with his last breath, Crane devotes himself to refashioning this powerful novel, into which he pours his fascination with the underworld, his sympathy for the poor, his experiences as a reporter among New York's lowlife--and his complex feelings for his own devoted wife. Seamlessly flowing between the vibrant, seedy atmosphere of turn-of-the-century Manhattan and the quiet Sussex countryside, Hotel de Dream tenderly presents the double love stories of Cora and Crane, and the painted boy and his banker lover. The brilliant novel-within-a-novel combines the youthful simplicity of Crane's own prose with White's elegant sense of form, offering an unforgettable portrait of passion in all its guises.… (mer)
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» Se även 22 omnämnanden

I picked up Hotel de Dream because I’d read that it was a great read and that it was a forerunner to the popular woman-behind-the-man novels that are so popular right now (think The Paris Wife by Paula McClain or The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin). Plus it had an extra bonus of having a novel-within-a-novel (Margaret Atwood’s The Assassins). I just love those types of books.

Hotel de Dream’s featured couple is Stephen and Cora Crane. Stephen is twenty-eight years-old and is dying of tuberculosis. Cora want to go back to England, but fears Stephen is too weak to make the trip. In part, they are trying to escape the gossip mill that swirls around Cora…after all, she is the former owner of a bordello in Florida.

The book jacket says that the Cranes “live riotously, running up bills they can never pay.” Maybe it was because I read only to page 50, but they didn’t seem to be living the high life by any means.

Crane was often visited by his esteemed contemporaries, Henry James and Joseph Conrad. Author White makes a huge mistake when he brings a people like James and Conrad by only using their last names. I had a hard time following when the characters first showed up, trying to figure out who they were. By the time I reached page 50, I had the style figured out, but it still annoyed me.

Then there is the problem of the novel-within-the-novel. It seems that the Cranes are desperate for money, Stephen, in a rather delirious state, begins to dictate a novel to Cora.

And this is where White really lost me. I read the first excerpt, then the second, but by the time I finished, I was just grossed out. The “new” novel is about a very young male prostitute and his homosexuality. The graphic descriptions are what turned me off.

As a reader, I give Hotel de Dream, one star. The early pages of the story are confusing. As a writer, I give the novel four stars (out of five). Aside from the previously mentioned confusion, once I got past it, the book is well written; it’s just not kind of story though. White’s book has an audience, I’m sure, it’s just not me. ( )
  juliecracchiolo | Jan 26, 2018 |
The premise of this story is intriguing, and White handles it as competently as you would expect, but I felt it didn't quite deliver everything it could have. Obviously White wanted to avoid writing a straightforward biographical historical novel about Crane, so he puts the stress on the story that Crane is supposed to be writing in the last weeks of his life. But that leaves us with a lot of tantalisingly undeveloped glimpses of Crane's life, his partner Cora, and his friendships with some of the literary giants who were infesting Sussex around the turn of the century. We get entertaining but rather predictable cameo appearances by Henry James and Joseph Conrad, but Wells, who might have been a more interesting foil to Crane, doesn't feature.

The story-within-a-story, with its glimpses of the New York gay scene of the late 19th century, is fun, and it's nice to see how White manages to steer Crane into plausibly writing a story that whilst following the inevitable narrative line of sin-blackmail-disgrace, still shows sympathy and understanding for the parties in the love story. But the story itself isn't particularly extraordinary: what is exciting about it is the idea that a mainstream contemporary writer could have written such a thing. Of course, there's no evidence that he did, and it's pretty implausible that he would have, but it's still an intriguing possibility, and White makes a good case for it.

White is always worth a look and this is an entertaining read, but I felt that Fanny, a fiction was much better as a historical novel. ( )
  thorold | Oct 14, 2014 |
This is only a couple of hundred pages, yet it felt like I was slogging through it. I don’t think I would have finished it if it were longer.

The writing is awkward and clumsy, there is no flow to it. The prose makes hard turns that made go back and re-read things way too often, and yet it seems simplistic in style. Sentences and paragraphs just come out of nowhere, having nothing to do with what’s around them.

The book is a story within a story and neither one of them is all that interesting and nothing much happens. If you’ve read the synopsis you’ve heard the whole story. The framing story is just that, really just a frame for soft core gay porn (more like a romance novel) about an underage boy and a married man. Maybe that’s all it was supposed to be and I’m judging it wrong.

You don’t learn anything about Stephen Crane, it could be any author. It’s subtitled "A New York Novel" but only the fiction story takes place there, the Crane story is in various parts of Europe, and you’d barely know any of it was in NYC except that it’s mentioned a couple of times. The title? Cranes wife used to work run a place called Hotel de Dream, that’s it. It’s mentioned a couple of times in passing and and as far as I could tell had nothing to do with the story, and neither did her former life there.

What was good about it? I liked the ending. And it was short. ( )
  bongo_x | Apr 6, 2013 |
The story of Hotel de Dream: A New York Novel is one of two pairs of lovers, Stephen Crane and his wife Cora and the young prostitute Elliott and his lover Theodore the Banker, who are products of Stephen Crane's literary imagination. In this novel Crane is writing a companion piece to his earlier novel, Maggie, Girl of the Streets, and it is this novel, The Painted Boy, that occupies Crane as he slowly succumbs to the ravages of TB. What is fascinating is the seamless way that White is able to meld the stories of Crane's life and Crane's writing. Sections of The Painted Boy are interspersed throughout the novel as Crane dictates it to his wife Cora. The description of the young boy of the streets, Elliott is both moving and heartbreaking as he loses his childhood in an attempt to simply survive. In an inter textual delight for the reader Crane becomes a character both in White's novel, as journalist studying the boy, and in the novel he is writing within Hotel de Dream. It reminds me of a favorite novel of mine, The Counterfeiters, by Andre Gide, wherein the protagonist Edouard is writing a novel titled The Counterfeiters, thus making Gide's tale a novel within a novel. White is using a modern approach to the novel to tell a very authentic fin de siecle tale.

He succeeds; and the reader is drawn along by the atmospheric seediness of turn-of-the century Manhattan as it is contrasted with the quiet countryside of England where Stephen and Cora are passing their days. There is also the realism of visits from Henry James and Joseph Conrad that add to the book's milieu. I found White's prose elegant and his realization of Crane's novel within the novel believable. The contrasting portraits of passion help make this novel a gem. It makes me want to explore more of both writers in the near future. ( )
2 rösta jwhenderson | May 25, 2009 |
Stephen Crane foi um escritor e jornalista norte-americano que viveu entre 1871 e 1900. Foi correspondente de guerra e autor de livros sobre a vida nas ruas de Nova Iorque. Quando visitou o bordel Hotel De Dream, na Florida, conheceu a sua dona, Cora Taylor, e passaram a viver juntos (Cora não podia casar porque desconhecia o paradeiro do seu marido a fim de lhe pedir o divórcio), em Inglaterra. Morreu tuberculoso num sanatório da Floresta Negra, na Alemanha, com 28 anos, e é actualmente considerado um dos fundadores da moderna literatura norte-americana.

Um dos críticos e mentores de Crane deixou relatado um encontro que os dois tiveram com um rapaz prostituto, numa rua de Nova Iorque, e que teria inspirado Crane a escrever o primeiro capítulo de um livro que, a conselho desse amigo, teria rasgado por ser demasiado ousado para a época, precisamente sobre o meio dos rapazes que se dedicavam à prostituição.

Mesmo afirmando não acreditar na veracidade desta história, o escritor Edmund White pegou nela e construiu uma ficção ('uma fantasia', como lhe chama) sobre essa hipótese, intitulada precisamente Hotel De Dream. O livro tem uma estrutura que a princípio parece um pouco confusa, mas que aos poucos vai fazendo sentido, com vários planos narrativos. O plano principal é o da viagem que Crane e Cora fazem desde Inglaterra até ao sanatório alemão, com o estado de saúde do escritor a deteriorar-se seriamente. Para além de encontros de Crane com outros escritores, como Joseph Conrad, Henry James ou H. G. Wells, e das vicissitudes da viagem, este plano narrativo é pontuado pelos ditados em voz alta que o escritor faz a Cora das passagens do romance sobre o rapaz prostituto que pretende escrever nesses seus derradeiros dias. The Painted Boy constitui esse romance, que vai aparecendo ao longo do livro como uma narrativa dentro da narrativa. Há outro plano narrativo que acompanha o pensamento de Crane, reflectindo em relação à sua saúde e à perspectiva de uma morte próxima, ou sobre o seu relacionamento com Cora. Neste plano narrativo o escritor alterna entre a 1ª e a 3ª pessoa do singular, e inclui a memória de Crane sobre o encontro com o rapaz prostituto e o mergulho que esse encontro proporcionou pelo meio nova-iorquino da prostituição masculina.

Para além de uma recriação, quase como um romance histórico, do quotidiano da cidade em finais do século XIX (e que faz um pouco lembrar as cenas do filme de Scorsese, Gangs of New York, até porque grande parte da acção se passa no mesmo cenário da Bowery), o que pareceu interessar a White foi esse olhar sobre a homossexualidade (através da prostituição, que era, como o foi até há pouco tempo, a única possibilidade de muitos homossexuais experimentarem a sua condição) tal como era vivida nessa época. Outro aspecto interessante, e que White enuncia como sendo um dos seus interesses ao escrever o livro, era tentar contar uma história sobre a homossexualidade a partir de um olhar heterossexual. Neste ponto, acho que o livro não corresponde bem a esse desiderato, porque se sente que o olhar de Crane é demasiado contaminado pelo do narrador, e este coincide, quase inevitavelmente, com o do escritor, que é manifesta e assumidamente homossexual.

Do que não restam dúvidas é que Edmund White (como já tinha aqui escrito a propósito de My Lives, a sua autobiografia, que também li este ano) é um admirável escritor sobre a sexualidade, construindo universos narrativos densos mas muito claros na sua análise da sexualidade humana, em particular da que repousa na experiência homossexual (apenas por ser essa a que melhor conhece, pois é a sua). Para além disso, Hotel De Dream é ainda um saboroso exercício de linguagem, recriando muitas das expressões usadas na época para falar das coisas relacionadas com o sexo, sobretudo através de um jargão que se justificava não só pela clandestinidade da homossexualidade, mas pelo próprio tabu que constituía toda a temática da sexualidade. ( )
  innersmile | Dec 28, 2008 |
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In a damp, old sussex castle, American literary phenomenon Stephen Crane lies on his deathbed, wasting away from tuberculosis at the age of twenty-eight. The world-famous author of The Red Badge of Courage has retreated to England with his wife, Cora, in part to avoid gossip about her ignominious past as the proprietress of a Florida bordello, the Hotel de Dream. Though Crane's days are numbered, he and Cora live riotously, running up bills they'll never be able to pay, receiving visitors like Henry James and Joseph Conrad, and even planning a mad dash to Germany's Black Forest, where Cora hopes a leading TB specialist will provide a miracle cure. Then, in the midst of the confusion and gathering tragedy of their lives, Crane begins dictating a strange novel. The Painted Boy draws from Crane's erstwhile journalist days in New York in the 1890s, a poignant story about a boy prostitute and the married man who ruins his own life to win the boy's love. Crane originally planned the book as a companion piece to Maggie, Girl of the Streets, but abandoned it when literary friends convinced him that such scandalous subject matter would destroy his career. Now, with his last breath, Crane devotes himself to refashioning this powerful novel, into which he pours his fascination with the underworld, his sympathy for the poor, his experiences as a reporter among New York's lowlife--and his complex feelings for his own devoted wife. Seamlessly flowing between the vibrant, seedy atmosphere of turn-of-the-century Manhattan and the quiet Sussex countryside, Hotel de Dream tenderly presents the double love stories of Cora and Crane, and the painted boy and his banker lover. The brilliant novel-within-a-novel combines the youthful simplicity of Crane's own prose with White's elegant sense of form, offering an unforgettable portrait of passion in all its guises.

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