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The Lonely Hearts Hotel

A Novel

About the Book

From the two-time Giller Prize shortlisted author, a dazzling circus of a novel set in the seductive underside of Montreal and New York between the wars

Two babies are abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1910. One is a girl named Rose; the other, a boy named Pierrot. Each display rare gifts that bring them adoration and hatred. As they are made to travel around the city performing clown routines to raise funds for the orphanage, they make plans for a sensational future. They are separated as teenagers and sent off to work as menial servants, but both soon find themselves escaping into the criminal world, participating in the vicious and absurd and perverted underbelly of Montreal and New York City between the wars. They search for each other, and one night, under the snowflakes, they reunite, and the underworld will never look quite the same. With all the storytelling skill and magical language for which she is known, Heather O’Neill dazzles us with a new tale of motherless gangsters, drug addicted pianists, radicalized chorus girls and a city whose economy hinges on the price of a kiss.

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Critical Praise

“A fairy tale laced with gunpowder and romance and icing sugar, all wrapped round with a lit fuse. Each of Heather O’Neill’s sentences pricks or delights. If you haven’t read her other books, start with this one and then read all of the rest.” —Kelly Link, author of Pulitzer Prize finalist Get in Trouble

“O’Neill is an extraordinary writer, and her new novel is exquisite. . . .O’Neill has taken on sadness itself as a subject, but it would be terribly reductive to say that this book is sad; it’s also joyful, funny, and vividly alive.” —Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

“Heather O’Neill’s style is laced with so much sublime possibility and merciless reality that it makes me think of comets and live wires and William Blake’s “The Tyger.” Between prose like that and a story like this, you have a book that raises goosebumps and the giddiest of grins.” —Helen Oyeyemi, author of What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

“The Lonely Hearts Hotel sucked me right in and only got better and better, ultimately becoming much tougher, wiser than I was prepared for. I began underlining truths I had hungered for but never before read. By the end I was a gasping, tearful mess.” —Miranda July, author of The First Bad Man and No One Belongs Here More Than You

“O’Neill is a mistress of metaphor and imagery…This is brilliant tragicomedy…in a melancholy love story that brings to life the bygone days of theatrical revues.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Walking the hypnotic line between tragedy and fairy tale. . . . the love story that unfolds is a fable of ambition and perseverance, desperation and heartbreak. . . Big and lush and extremely satisfying; a rare treat.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“O’Neill’s unique strength as a prose stylist has always been in the strength of her individual sentences, and in The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, the way she wields an image feels less like style than superpower.” —National Post

“The Girl Who Was Saturday Night is Heather O’Neill’s second novel, and it is the book where she emerges as a fully-formed artist.” —The Globe and Mail

“The writing in Daydreams of Angels is characteristically crisp and playful, but with an undercurrent of cruelty that only amplifies each story’s beating heart.” —National Post

“A dazzling leap forward. . . . O’Neill writes like a sort of demented angel with an uncanny knack for metaphor.” —Toronto Star

“An exuberantly written coming-of-age story ... Flashbulb-bright and memorable ... Nicolas and Nouschka are the beautiful, frozen, fetishised symbols of separatist Quebec. As they try to wrench themselves into being, their story is as entrancing and antic and sensual as a dream” —The Guardian

“Magical and inventive.” —Maclean's

“Heather O’Neill does it again! The Girl Who Was Saturday Night is full of quaking love and true sadness, family rackets, heart attacks, feral cats of all sorts, risky trysts, and reeling abandon. O’Neill’s voice is singular, brave, magical, and bursting with stark beauty.” —Lisa Moore, Giller-shortlisted author of Caught

“[These stories are] united by the now-unmistakable O’Neill stamp: compassionately drawn characters from society’s fringes acting out tales of hardship, resilience and sometimes redemption, all told in deceptively simple prose - nobody, but nobody, does simile quite like O’Neill - that at its best attains the level of music.” —Montreal Gazette

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781443448819
  • ISBN 10: 1443448818
  • Imprint: HarperCollins Publishers
  • On Sale: 02/07/2017
  • Pages: 400
  • List Price: 16.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: FICTION / Literary

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O'Neill

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