Heather O’Neill is a novelist, short-story writer and essayist. Her work, which includes Lullabies for Little Criminals, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night and Daydreams of Angels, has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Orange Prize for Fiction, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize in two consecutive years, and has won CBC Canada Reads, the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, and the Danuta Gleed Award. O’Neill was born and raised in Montreal, where she lives today.
The Lonely Hearts Hotel
Two babies are abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1914. Eventually their talents emerge: Pierrot is a piano prodigy; Rose lights up every room with her dancing and comedy. As they perform for the rich around the city, the children fall in love with each other, and dream up a plan for the most extraordinary circus the world has ever seen. Separated as teenagers, both escape into the city’s underworld, where they must use their gifts to survive without each other. Ruthless and unforgiving, Montreal in the 1930’s is no place for song and dance. But when Rose and Pierrot finally reunite beneath the snowflakes, their childhood dreams are renewed, and the pair will go to extreme lengths to make them come true. With extraordinary storytelling, musical language, and an extravagantly realized world, O’Neill enchants us with her best novel yet.