A View of the Harbour

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  • A View of the Harbour, Rotterdam - Jongkind, Johann Barthold | Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza?

Barred from university by her math grades, she trained, briefly and miserably, as a typist, and worked as a governess, a kindergarten teacher, and a librarian. Eventually, she turned to politics, and to marriage.

By , she had a husband, a child, and an active membership in the Communist Party. But the heroic artists of her childhood left their mark. One of her central themes is the conflict between creative autonomy and social responsibility; seven of her twelve novels feature writers or painters as characters.

A View Of The Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor, Sarah Waters | Waterstones

It is set in a declining coastal town in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, and, as the title suggests, it is a study in perspective. Taylor builds up a picture of the town through the eyes of a dozen of its inhabitants. A subtle but persistent undercurrent of sexual longing and frustration runs through almost every scene. Tying all this together is an argument about the proper subject of art and the conditions under which it can be made.

The novel sets up two artistic types: Bertram, a retired naval officer hoping to begin a second career as a painter of coastal scenes, and Beth, an old-fashioned domestic novelist married to the town doctor. Bertram is a visitor, the only artist to come to town since the war. His last name—Hemingway, a cruel name for a watercolor painter—marks him as a caricature of a certain sort of solitary artist. In contrast to Bertram, Beth is introduced against the backdrop of domestic chaos.

At breakfast, as she tries to read the reviews of her last novel, her young daughter, Stevie, starts to cry, because her older sister, a morose and awkward twenty-year-old unhappily stranded at home, has put on her coat too roughly. Her husband, waiting in the car to take Stevie to school, starts honking impatiently. As he drives away, her best friend, on her way to London for the day, drops in to ask if she needs any new clothes.

Beth finally sits down to work on her novel. There is the lyric exploration of consciousness—the sensory impressions and fragmented perceptions with which Taylor conveys the inner lives of her characters—and, in counterpoint, the detailing of daily minutiae. In the contest between Beth and Bertram, Bertram at first seems to have the upper hand. Having cut himself off from his social ties, his time is his own. With nothing to impede his creative focus, he spends his days wandering around the harbor, trying to find the best spot to set up his canvas.

Beth, on the other hand, is unable to block out the world for extended periods. Even when she finds time to work, she worries that what she has written is contaminated by her domestic circumstances. As he walks through town, he notices its outdated storefronts and misspelled signs, the debris of its former prosperity, but not the ebbing livelihood of its inhabitants.

He sees men clearing rusty coils of barbed wire, the remnants of a coastal defense system, off the beach, but not the broader changes caused by war: the bad food and worn clothes of postwar austerity, the dearth of military-aged men, the exhaustion and the paranoia. Unwilling to admit this to himself, he spends more and more time running small errands for his neighbors. Beth is self-absorbed and often foolish.

She describes her dreams at length to uncaring listeners and fails to notice that her husband and best friend are having an affair. In terms of accommodations, we suggest paying a bit more for the decked-out Harbor View guest rooms and suites, located on floors 17 through 27, which offer beautiful views of Hong Kong Island and the water. Each of its rooms looks out on either Victoria Harbour or the skyline.

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However, guests staying in either Club Rooms or Suites have an extra perk: access to a top-floor lounge with a private bar and panoramic views of the city. The hotel is also very eco-friendly, down to a recyclable shopping bag in your room to avoid plastic when you make a purchase. If your day fills up with meetings, the hotel has six brilliant restaurants, from Cantonese to Italian. Conversely, if you find yourself with some free time, the hotel also provides itineraries for one-, three- and five-hour periods. This luxury hotel offers similarly stunning views as the others on our list but steps it up with a five-star-and-then-some level of service.

Where to Find the Best Views of Sydney Harbour

Staff members, for example, know your name and room number, and the concierge is always available to provide assistance from making restaurant reservations to arranging last-minute services like dry cleaning. No car, no problem, either: the hotel uses BMWs—one of which is electric—to shuttle guests to meetings and back. Located in a towering skyscraper, this hotel looks toward Hong Kong's skyline from Kowloon—meaning you truly get some incredible views of not just the iconic buildings, but the laser and light show each night.

In addition to the sights, this hotel is also a culinary destination: the Cantonese restaurant Yan Toh Heen has two Michelin stars, while Rech by Alain Ducasse has one.


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