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There is a point in this book in which a character ruminates on how we may go about viewing ourselves as we view spectacular city skylines. How do we zoom out? How do we separate ourselves from the avenues of our own lives; how do we see ourselves, as one beautiful whole? And how can we know another person if we don’t know ourselves? Hermione Hoby doesn’t answer these questions for us, but she does make us ponder them in a striking, shimmering voice that is all her own. This is no regular New York coming-of-age novel. It is weird and charming and full of that unnamable thing that is just so New York…that those strangers around you could--in an easily missed split-second encounter--change your life forever. This is an electric debut.— From Claire
Hermione Hoby’s debut novel up close is beautifully chaotic. Back up to the entire picture and it is a shimmering, reflective surface that allows us to see what we, and the world, are made up of. Set in New York City in the hazy summer of 2012, Kate, newly arrived from England and seeking a change in perspective, meets Inez, a magnetic and anarchistic beauty, then randomly, Inez’s father, Bill, a stagnant yet successful has-been author. As they move through the summer tangled in each others’ lives, Hoby plays with elements of narcissism, maturity, isolation, and love, with a depth and understanding that is wholly human. This is a novel that hums with the irony and incredulity of life; a mirror-pond of the human spectacle.— From Charlotte's Picks
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.