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It's the balmy days of the 1920s and where could be more pleasant for a holiday than a hotel on the Italian Riviera? Filled with prosperous English visitors, the Hotel offers a closed world of wealth and comfort. It also provides the stage for the display of social niceties, for passionate but unspoken love affairs and for the comedy of the shared bathroom. With great wit and insight Elizabeth Bowen's first novel lays bare the intricacies and eccentricities of polite society.
Elizabeth Bowen was born in Dublin in 1899, the only child of an Irish lawyer and land-owner. She travelled a great deal, dividing most of her time between London and Bowen's Court, the family house in County Cork which she inherited. Her first book, a collection of shorts stories, Encounters, was published in 1923. The Hotel (1926) was her first novel. She was awarded the CBE in 1948, and received honorary degrees from Trinity College, Dublin in 1949, and from Oxford University in 1956. The Royal Society of Literature made her a Companion of Literature in 1965. Elizabeth Bowen died in 1973.