Summer of Canadian Reading 2019
Longlisted for the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction
A Globe and Mail Most Anticipated Book
A NOW Magazine Book You Have to Read
A Toronto Star Book We Can’t Wait to Read
“Heather O’Neill is just getting better and better.” —The Globe and Mail
“It would be hard to overstate here just how the good the writing is in The Lonely Hearts Hotel. For it is stunningly, stunningly good.” —Toronto Star
“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 an extraordinary writer, and her new novel is exquisite.” —Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
Set in Montreal and New York between the wars, a spellbinding story about two orphans whose unusual magnetism and talent allow them to imagine a sensational future, from bestselling, two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Heather O’Neill
The internationally acclaimed author returns with a stunning national bestseller in The Lonely Hearts Hotel. Exquisitely imagined and hypnotically told, it is a love story with the power of legend.
Two babies are abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1914. Before long, their true talents emerge: Pierrot is a piano prodigy; Rose lights up even the dreariest room with her dancing and comedy. As they travel around the city performing for the rich, the children fall in love with each other and dream up a plan for the most extraordinary and seductive circus show the world has ever seen.
Separated as teenagers, both escape into the city’s underworld, where they must use their uncommon gifts to survive without each other. Ruthless and unforgiving, Montreal in the 1930s is no place for song and dance, depicted by O’Neill as “a voyage across Montreal, from realms of innocence and districts of longing to zones of cruelty” (National Post). When Rose and Pierrot finally reunite they’ll go to extreme lengths to make their childhood dreams come true.