A sweeping work of historical fiction from theNew York Times–bestselling author Dominic Smith,The Electric Hotel is a spellbinding story of art and love.
For more than thirty years, Claude Ballard has been living at the Hollywood Knickerbocker Hotel. A French pioneer of silent films who started out as a concession agent for the LumiÃ¨re brothers, the inventors of cinema, Claude now spends his days foraging for mushrooms in the hills of Los Angeles and taking photographs of runaways and the striplings along Sunset Boulevard. But when a film history student comes to interview Claude aboutThe Electric Hotel—the lost masterpiece that bankrupted him and ended the career of his muse, Sabine Montrose—the past comes surging back. In his run-down hotel suite, the ravages of the past are waiting to be excavated: celluloid fragments in desperate need of restoration, as well as Claude’s memories of the woman who inspired and beguiled him.
The Electric Hotel is a portrait of a man entranced by the magic of moviemaking, a luminous romance, and a whirlwind trip through early cinema. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
Advance Praise forThe Electric Hotel
“A long-retired moviemaker recalls the early days of silent films in Smith's atmospheric follow-up toThe Last Painting of Sara De Vos . . . Smith skillfully blends film history with the adventures of his cast; a Stanislavsky-obsessed acting coach and an Australian stuntman are among the intriguingly idiosyncratic folks who join Sabine, Claude, and Hal, each haunted by damage a parent has inflicted, to joyously invent a new art form. The novel climaxes with a brilliantly detailed account of the filming ofThe Electric Hotel and its triumphant premiere, followed by multiple blows that have been deftly foreshadowed ... Martin's screening of the restored Electric Hotel provides a moving finale. A compelling plot, robust characters, and finely crafted prose richly evoke a bygone age and art.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“As fresh and deliciously strange as the first days of film-making it so dazzlingly brings to life,The Electric Hotelis utterly absorbing, astonishingly inventive, and richly imagined. Dominic Smith is a wizard.”
—Andrea Barrett, National Book Award winner and author ofArchangel
Praise forThe Last Painting of Sara de Vos
An Amazon Best Book of the Year
AKirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
“Audacious . . . Absolutely transporting.”
—Maureen Corrigan, NPR
“Gorgeous storytelling: wry, playful, and utterly alive, with an almost tactile awareness of the emotional contours of the human heart.”
—Laura Collins-Hughes,TheBoston Globe
“Rapturous . . . Smith’s writing is incandescent from the first sentence.”
—Caroline Leavitt,San Francisco Chronicle
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