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Neon in Daylight Paperback – January 9, 2018
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Praise for Neon in Daylight
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
A January 2018 Indie Next Pick
Named One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018 by Esquire, Nylon, and BookRiot
One of Bustle's Most Anticipated Debut Novels of 2018
One of Vogue.com's and Refinery29's Most Anticipated Books of January 2018
"A radiant first novel. . . . [Neon in Daylight] has antecedents in the great novels of the 1970s: Renata Adler’s Speedboat, Elizabeth Hardwick’s Sleepless Nights, Joan Didion’s Play It as It Lays. . . . Precision―of observation, of language―is Hoby’s gift. Her sentences are sleek and tailored. Language molds snugly to thought." ―Parul Sehgal, The New York Times
"[A] luminous, crackling debut." ―Entertainment Weekly
"Hoby’s descriptive language is spectacular, like that of Elif Batuman with a freer spirit or Eve Babitz if she were writing about the opposite coast. . . . Luminous and wonderful. Hoby spins an intricate narrative that careens toward myriad social and emotional collisions. Her style has a delicious, raucous quality, and the way she weaves together her rotating perspectives keeps the book chugging along nicely. Her talent is clear, and her debut is a very good one." ―Los Angeles Review of Books
“Neon in Daylight is Hermione Hoby’s debut novel, and her skill on the sentence level ― along with a keen eye for detail ― will catapult her to stardom.” ―Chicago Review of Books
“This book pulses with the sticky heat of summer and sex and power and desire. It’s quiet, but insistent, that pulse, and you’ll find yourself responding to its movement as you read Hoby’s sharply observed debut novel. . . . It’s about New York in the summer. It’s about being alive.” ―Nylon, “50 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018”
"What do you get when a writer of extreme intelligence, insight, style and beauty chronicles the lives of self-absorbed hedonists―The Great Gatsby, Bright Lights, Big City, and now Neon in Daylight. Hermione Hoby paints a garish world that drew me in and held me spellbound. She is a marvel." ―Ann Patchett, author of Commonwealth
"Neon in Daylight is a classic New York City novel―sleek and stylish, both in literary craft and in the milieu portrayed. Hermione Hoby's misfits combust on the page, but what sets this book apart is that her city isn’t just a playground―it’s remarkably lonely, punctuated by a series of connections and breakdowns that leave you feeling compassion for the characters long after the book is finished." ― Stephanie Danler, New York Times bestselling author of Sweetbitter
"Bracingly intelligent and imbued with deep, humane wit, Neon in Daylight is an ode to the transience of the present, an exploration of the fierce and fragile bonds that guide us. Hermione Hoby channels the spirit of Joan Didion and the keen observational eye of Ben Lerner to show us the here and now, made luminously real." ― Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine
"Neon in Daylight perfectly nails the humidity, hustle, and heartbreak of being young in New York City. With the eyes and soul of a flâneur, Hermione Hoby's prose renews the physical world like a near-death experience. Smart and classy, this debut novel is, like neon, both rare and lighater than air." ―Tony Tulathimutte, author of Private Citizens
"Highly propulsive reading. . . . With effortlessly fluid prose, Hoby, herself a New York transplant from London, excels most promisingly in depicting the vivid, perhaps most iconic American city, especially as seen through the eyes of a curious and perceptive newcomer." ―Booklist
"In language so vivid that readers could break a sweat in an igloo, debut novelist Hoby brings to life the seamy underworld of bright, bored people during a suffocating New York City summer, demonstrating the sure hand seen in works by Bret Easton Ellis and Tama Janowitz." ―Library Journal
"[A] promising debut. . . . This is a sharp novel with perceptive observations . . . and vivid, complicated relationships." ―Publishers Weekly
"Hoby is a master of atmosphere." ―Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Hermione Hoby grew up in south London and has lived in New York since 2010. She is a freelance journalist who writes about culture and gender for publications including The New Yorker, The Guardian, The New York Times, and The Times Literary Supplement. She also writes the “Stranger of the Week” column for The Awl. Neon in Daylight is her first novel.
Top customer reviews
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So let’s start with the “love. Hermione Hoby can write and she’s not afraid to take risks with her characters. Although she is not a native New Yorker, she channels the New York vibe and her style is edgy, witty in places, and often compulsively page-turning.
At the core of her novel is a triangle: young Kate, a London transplant, who is spending the summer in her mother’s friend’s apartment trying to figure out who she wants to be when she grows up. Quickly, she meets Inez, a spellbinding girl with an unusual hobby: answering Craigslist ads and fulfilling the fantasies of men who want to be humiliated. She also hooks up with a “one-hit wonder” middle-aged author named Bill who is weighed down by his glory days…and just happens to be Inez’s father.
For me, the biggest problem was that Kate is the main character, but next to the bigger-than-life Inez and Bill, Kate comes across as a cypher. I couldn’t quite understand what either one of them saw in her. Was she a Pygmalion character that each of them wanted to mold and recreate? Was she a mirror in which their foibles were projected? If either of these scenarios were developed, the book would have been more powerful, but I was left feeling that I needed to take this on faith: Inez and Bill were both mesmerized by Kate (more than the other way around).
I wanted a little more psychological insight into these characters and a little more reason to invest emotionally in them. Having said that, I believe Hermione Hoby is an emerging talent who will keep getting better and I’d love to see where her creative muse takes her.
2) Another thing you'd know were you a follower of mine is that I am obsessive about my adoration for Joan Didion, and, too, Renata Adler's novels. So, when a blurb compared Neon In Daylight's author, Hermione Hoby, to those two writers, I was further encouraged to use my gift cards for purchase.
3) And, one more thing you'd know if you followed me, I have developed a healthy distrust for blurbs --- but, there are some exceptions; Blurbs by Writers I Admire and Trust. So, when Ann Patchett blurbs a book, comparing it to The Great Gatsby and Bright Lights, Big City, I listen.
In addition to all that, it also had going for it that it took place in New York City, which usually is enough to reel me in, and it was an Indie Next pick.
Maybe my expectations were too high.
New York, 2012, Kate has arrived in Manhattan, from England, where waits for her return a boyfriend she is mostly sure she means to leave behind permanently. She becomes involved with wasted, alcoholic, used-to-be writer, Bill, and meets cute the hedonist, hipster, free-spirit-near-nut-job, Inez, who turns out to be Bill's daughter.
For me, the voices were just slightly off; the ennui wasn't eviscerating in the way Joan Didion can make emptiness feel with its diamond sharp edges cutting through all the distractions meant to hold our attention, those actions in which we indulge to keep us from noticing the vacancies in the middle of our lives and hearts, but, rather, in Neon In Daylight, the ennui came across more as apathetic tedium, the characters rather tiresome whiners. It was more pose than actual life-experience and felt put-on, played at.
That said, the writing was in many places marvelous. But, right now, for me, reading about vapid urbanites completely self-absorbed in their dissatisfaction with their privilege is not something in which I am interested. And New York wasn't so much a character as it was an idea we were left to fill in.
I think this the work of a promising author whose first effort comes close to something but doesn't --- just for me, now --- quite make it over the finish line of having spent gift card money on it.
Most recent customer reviews
I'm not sure I would say I hate it, but I certainly did not enjoy it.Read more
Kate arrived in New York from England to the apartment of her mother’s friend during the extremely hot...Read more