[The White Hotel] is a short and comprehensive novel, and ingenious in suggesting connections between its different narrative levels—psychoanalytical, historical and moral.
Anna G.'s sexual fantasies centre on the events of a lake-side holiday at Bad Gastein. Anna herself attributes to the white hotel and its polymorphous satisfactions a certain moral value: 'the spirit of the white hotel was against selfishness.' In Freud's more clinical terms, what is expressed is 'her longing to return to the haven of security, the original white hotel—we have all stayed there—the mother's womb.' But the fantasia of Anna's poem and journal contains almost as much horror as pleasure…. The horror,...
(The entire section is 581 words.)