“Depressed clowns, dancing bears, lunatic nuns and smitten mobsters”1 min read


“If you were to go to sleep and dream of life in early 20th Century Montreal, Heather O’Neill’s The Lonely Hearts Hotel is what you might dream. The Giller-shortlisted author’s new novel has all the absurd, frightening, fantastical qualities of a midnight reverie — complete with depressed clowns, dancing bears, lunatic nuns and smitten mobsters — and with a similar power to haunt … When their much-anticipated reunion takes place, it does nothing to disrupt the bittersweet mood of the book. Great joy and immense sadness follow as their story unfolds, and the two set about staging the circus they’d envisioned as children. 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 … O’Neill, always an original and enchanting storyteller, is at the height of her powers. The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a feat of imagination, accomplished through the tiny, marvellous details she scatters across the page.”

Tara Henley, The Toronto Star, February 12, 2017

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