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The Lonely Hearts Hotel: A Novel Hardcover – February 7, 2017
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“O'Neill's lively style is so filled with vivid descriptions and complex characters that the reader's experience is virtually cinematic... in the hands of this brilliant author, even the ugliest events are depicted with the most musical cadences, soaring arias and symphonic resolutions. Filled with inspired twists and turns, the tale is utterly compelling, creating a world where desperation and love coexist.” —The Washington Post
“A larger-than-life, gritty love story that reads like a fable...The greatest strength of O’Neill’s work, however, is her wholly unique narrative voice, which is at once cool and panoramic, yet shockingly intimate and wisely philosophical. The novel brims with shimmering one-liners.” —The Boston Globe
“Art, love, imagination — these values are held aloft in O’Neill’s novel, with Pierrot and Rose floating through life as ‘collector[s] of beautiful moments’… the nature of the theatrical spectacle Rose and Pierrot and company have created speaks to the mesmerizing effects of the novel itself.” —The San Francisco Chronicle
“O'Neill is an extraordinary writer, and her new novel is exquisite. She 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
“Because this book is so filled with delightful things, it would be easy to overlook how finely it is made. 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
"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
"[Walks] the hypnotic line between tragedy and fairy tale...O'Neill's prose is crisp and strange, arresting in its frankness; much like the novel itself, her writing is both gleefully playful and devastatingly sad. Big and lush and extremely satisfying; a rare treat." —Kirkus (starred review)
“In a love story of epic proportions, O’Neill’s excellent historical novel plumbs the depths of happiness and despair...At the very end of the tunnel are floodlights to the stage, sad clowns, gigantic moon props, chorus girls, and the one thing that time and distance cannot diminish--true love grander than any circus act. This novel will cast a spell on readers from page one.” —Publishers Weekly (starred, boxed review)
“O’Neill is a mistress of metaphor and imagery (“her sobs were flung on the deck”). This is brilliant tragicomedy...in a melancholy love story that brings to life the bygone days of theatrical revues. It’s a little weird and a lot of fun.” —Booklist (starred review)
"This simultaneously heart-breaking and life-affirming novel depicts the range of the human experience through the eyes of its almost preternaturally charismatic hero and heroine… O’Neill’s prose is gorgeous, with arresting imagery." —Library Journal (starred review)
“All at once, The Lonely Hearts Hotel is whimsical, melancholy, tragic and delightful—a wonderful feat that recreates the ambivalence of life. Throughout the novel, the bleakest of realities are colored by magic, and the most joyful moments are cloaked in subtle gloom… a highly original work of fiction.” –BookPage
“O'Neill's fairy tale spins a bittersweet spell…Brazen, offbeat and thoroughly bewitching, The Lonely Hearts Hotel mixes the sacred and profane into an effervescent love potion.” —Shelf Awareness
"Magical and charming and sexy and raunchy and enchanting.”—BookRiot
About the Author
Heather O’Neill is a novelist, poet, short-story writer, screenwriter, and essayist. Lullabies for Little Criminals, her debut novel, was published in 2006 to international critical acclaim and shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Born and raised in Montreal, O’Neill lives there today with her daughter.
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Top Customer Reviews
The two orphans that the book is about find and lose everything in their lives many times over. It's about childhood fears taking root. How they choose to live is all very captivating. The content is much more brash than I had expected but the book is so beautifully written that I kept finding myself reading certain passages several times.
Rose ends up in the claws of a dangerous man and it's difficult to get away from him. Pierrot has a good life being adopted by an older gentleman, but when his new father dies he ends up in deep trouble straight away. After many years Rose and Pierrot run into each other again. They can finally start making their childhood dream come true, a magnificent theatre show that is so spectacular that nobody has ever seen anything like it before. Working together is a big success, but will Rose and Pierrot ever find happiness after their difficult starts in life?
Pierrot is a brilliant piano player. He can play music written by others, but he can compose his own songs as well. Rose dances when he plays and their connection is a special one. They have a deep friendship, but there's also an attraction, a pull that makes it impossible for them to stay away from each other. Are they good together or are they too much? This is something I kept asking myself when I was reading The Lonely Hearts Hotel. Their relationship is complex, mainly because of others who are trying to come between them. Pierrot and Rose will never be unspoiled and life can be ugly, but in that ugliness there's beauty at the same time. It's what Heather O'Neill shows her readers in abundance, which is what I liked the most about this book.
The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a fantastic story that has many different layers. It's raw and shocking and very unique. Heather O'Neill kept surprising me and I was impressed by her vivid writing style. She writes about small undernourished and unhappy children in an orphanage, women who are being owned by men, addiction and rape with ease and irony, but also with plenty of sensitivity. The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a book with pizzazz. It's dazzling, entertaining and sparkling, but it's dark and gloomy sometimes as well. It's a strong, spellbinding story. Lives spiral out of control in a fast pace without any way for the main characters to stop it, which feels uncontrollable and inevitable. I was overwhelmed, amazed and hypnotized by this incredible whirlwind of a book.
Rose and Pierrot are very imaginative characters and their journey through life is written much like a fairy tale, with dancing bears and magic at every turn. But it’s a truly tragic story, filled with child rape, child abuse, animal abuse, drugs, prostitution, etc., etc., etc. It’s very profane, blunt and sexually graphic, which I felt was done in a way that seemed to be specifically for shock effect, though I’ve read where others have thought it lyrical. The writing consists of far too many metaphors, though some of the metaphors are quite beautiful. On one hand, the book can be seen as a story of two entrancing characters trying their best to struggle through a depraved world. On the other hand, it’s just a perverted, tragic mess, with one atrocity following another. I just wanted the book to be over so I could escape the horrendous world created by the author.
Sorry, but I can’t recommend this one. I was caught up in the comparison to “The Night Circus” but this is a much different type of book. This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.
I didn't like this book and could barely finish it. I generally only give 1 star to books I couldn't finish so this gets a 2 but barely. It was really boring and then it was gross and then it was boring again. Not magical or captivating or engrossing at all. Big disappointment. I thought it would be more exciting bases on the synopsis.