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A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
"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
"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
New York City in 2012, the sweltering summer before Hurricane Sandy hits. Kate, a young woman newly arrived from England, is staying in a Manhattan apartment while she tries to figure out her future. She has two unfortunate responsibilities during her time in America: to make regular Skype calls to her miserable boyfriend back home, and to cat–sit an indifferent feline named Joni Mitchell.
The city has other plans for her. In New York's parks and bodegas, its galleries and performance spaces, its bars and clubs crowded with bodies, Kate encounters two strangers who will transform her stay: Bill, a charismatic but embittered writer made famous by the movie version of his only novel; and Inez, his daughter, a recent high school graduate who supplements her Bushwick cafe salary by enacting the fantasies of men she meets on Craigslist. Unmoored from her old life, Kate falls into an infatuation with both of them.
Set in a heatwave that feels like it will never break, Neon In Daylight marries deep intelligence with captivating characters to offer us a joyful, unflinching exploration of desire, solitude, and the thin line between life and art.
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.
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From the Publisher
Praise for Neon in Daylight
"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 novelsleek 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 playgroundit’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
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