The Queen of the Night

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 National Bestseller
New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice | An Indie Next Pick

A Best Book of the Year from NPR, Boston Globe, Buzzfeed, Esquire, San Francisco Chronicle,Time Out, Self, Jezebel, The Portland Mercury, Electric Literature, and Entropy Magazine

“It just sounds terrific. It sounds like opera.” —Joan Acocella, The New Yorker

“Sprawling, soaring, bawdy, and plotted like a fine embroidery.” —Scott Simon, NPR

 
“Dazzling.” —Wall Street Journal | “A brilliant performance.” —Washington Post
 
“Sweeping, richly detailed.” —People | “Masterful.” —Wired | “Spellbinding.” —BuzzFeed

 
A “wild opera of a novel,”* The Queen of the Night tells the mesmerizing story of Lilliet Berne, an orphan who left the American frontier for Europe and was swept into the glamour and terror of Second Empire France. She became a sensation of the Paris Opera, with every accolade but an original role—her chance at immortality. When one is offered to her, she finds the libretto is based on her deepest secret, something only four people have ever known. But who betrayed her? With “epic sweep, gorgeous language, and haunting details,”** Alexander Chee shares Lilliet’s cunning transformation from circus rider to courtesan to legendary soprano, retracing the path that led to the role that could secure her reputation—or destroy her with the secrets it reveals.

“If Lilliet Berne were a man, she might have been what nineteenth-century novels would call a swashbuckler: the kind of destiny-courting, death-defying character who finds intrigue and peril (and somehow, always, a fantastic pair of pantaloons) around every corner.” —Entertainment Weekly
 


  
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About the author

ALEXANDER CHEE is the best-selling author of the novels The Queen of the Night and Edinburgh. He is a contributing editor at the New Republic, an editor at large at Virginia Quarterly Review, and a critic at large at the Los Angeles Times. His work has appeared in The Best American Essays 2016, the New York Times Magazine, Slate, Guernica, and Tin House, among others. He is an associate professor of English at Dartmouth College.
 

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Additional Information

Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Published on
Feb 2, 2016
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9780544106604
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Biographical
Fiction / Historical / General
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
Winner of the James Michener/Copernicus Society Fellowship Prize
Lambda Literary Foundation Editor’s Choice Award
 
“[Chee] says volumes with just a few incendiary words.” —New York Times
 
“Arresting . . . profound and poetic . . . Chee’s voice is worth listening to.” —San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Alexander Chee gets my vote for the best new novelist I’ve read in some time. Edinburgh is moody, dramatic—and pure.” —Edmund White
 
Twelve-year-old Fee is a shy Korean American boy and a newly named section leader of the first sopranos in his local boys’ choir. But when Fee learns how the director treats his section leaders, he is so ashamed he says nothing of the abuse, not even when Peter, his best friend, is in line to be next. When the director is arrested, Fee tries to forgive himself for his silence. But when Peter takes his own life, Fee blames only himself. In the years that follow he slowly builds a new life, teaching near his hometown. There he meets a young student who is the picture of Peter and is forced to confront the past he believed was gone. Told with “the force of a dream and the heft of a life,”* Edinburgh marked Chee “as a major talent whose career will bear watching” (Publishers Weekly).
 
“A coming-of-age tale in the grand Romantic tradition, where passions run high, Cupid stalks Psyche, and love shares the dance floor with death . . . A lovely, nuanced, never predictable portrait of a creative soul in the throes of becoming.” —Washington Post
Inspired by the midcentury memoirs of Frances Conway, Enchanted Islands is the dazzling story of an independent American woman whose path takes her far from her native Minnesota when she and her husband, an undercover intelligence officer, are sent to the Galápagos Islands at the brink of World War II.


Born in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1882 to immigrant parents, Frances Frankowski covets the life of her best friend, Rosalie Mendel, who has everything Fanny could wish for—money, parents who value education, and an effervescent and winning personality. When, at age fifteen, Rosalie decides they should run away to Chicago, Fanny jumps at the chance to escape her unexceptional life. But, within a year, Rosalie commits an unforgivable betrayal, inciting Frances to strike out on her own.

Decades later, the women reconnect in San Francisco and realize how widely their lives have diverged. While Rosalie is a housewife and mother, Frances works as a secretary for the Office of Naval Intelligence. There she is introduced to Ainslie Conway, an intelligence operator ten years her junior. When it’s arranged for Frances and Ainslie to marry and carry out a mission on the Galápagos Islands, the couple’s identities—already hidden from each other—are further buried under their new cover stories. No longer a lonely spinster, Frances is about to begin the most fascinating and intrigue-filled years of her life.

Amid active volcanoes, forbidding wildlife and flora, and unfriendly neighbors, Ainslie and Frances carve out a life for themselves. But the secrets they harbor from their enemies and from each other may be their undoing.

Drawing on the rich history of the early twentieth century and set against a large, colorful canvas, Enchanted Islands boldly examines the complexity of female friendship, the universal pursuit of a place to call home, and the reverberations of secrets we keep from others and from ourselves.


From the Hardcover edition.
Longlisted for the National Book Award in Fiction • A Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction • A Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction • A Finalist for the James Taite Black Prize for Fiction • A Finalist the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize • A Finalist for the Green Carnation Prize • A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by More Than Fifty Publications, Including: The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The New York Times (selected by Dwight Garner), GQ, The Washington Post, Esquire, NPR, Slate, Vulture, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (London), The Telegraph (London), The Evening Standard (London), The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Miami Herald, The Millions, BuzzFeed, The New Republic (Best Debuts of the Year), Kirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly (One of the Ten Best Books of the Year)

"Garth Greenwell's What Belongs to You appeared in early 2016, and is a short first novel by a young writer; still, it was not easily surpassed by anything that appeared later in the year....It is not just first novelists who will be envious of Greenwell's achievement."—James Wood, The New Yorker

On an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American teacher enters a public bathroom beneath Sofia’s National Palace of Culture. There he meets Mitko, a charismatic young hustler, and pays him for sex. He returns to Mitko again and again over the next few months, drawn by hunger and loneliness and risk, and finds himself ensnared in a relationship in which lust leads to mutual predation, and tenderness can transform into violence. As he struggles to reconcile his longing with the anguish it creates, he’s forced to grapple with his own fraught history, the world of his southern childhood where to be queer was to be a pariah. There are unnerving similarities between his past and the foreign country he finds himself in, a country whose geography and griefs he discovers as he learns more of Mitko’s own narrative, his private history of illness, exploitation, and want.

What Belongs to You is a stunning debut novel of desire and its consequences. With lyric intensity and startling eroticism, Garth Greenwell has created an indelible story about the ways in which our pasts and cultures, our scars and shames can shape who we are and determine how we love.

A conversation between Garth Greenwell and Hanya Yanagihara is included inside the e-book edition.

“A colorful and inventive adventure tale.”—Washington Post

“It’s True Grit, New York style.”—New York Post
 
“One of the best mystery novels of the year: wonderful and very entertaining.”
—New York Journal of Books
 
“Stewart deftly combines the rough-and-tumble atmosphere of early twentieth-century New York City with the story of three women who want to live life on their own terms.”
—Library Journal, starred review
 
In 1915, lady cops were not expected to chase down fugitives on the streets of New York City. But Constance Kopp never did what anyone expected.
Constance and her sisters aren’t living the quiet life anymore. They’ve made headlines fighting back against a ruthless silk factory owner and his gang of thugs. After Sheriff Heath sees Constance in action, he appoints her as one of the nation’s first female deputies. But when a German-speaking con man threatens her position—and puts the honorable sheriff at risk for being thrown in his own jail—Constance will be forced to prove herself again.
Based on the Kopp sisters’ real-life adventures, Girl Waits with Gun introduced the sensational lives of Constance Kopp and her sisters to an army of enthusiastic readers. This second installment, also ripped from the headlines, takes us farther into the riveting story of a woman who defied expectations, forged her own path, and tackled crime along the way.
 
“A fast-moving, craftily written novel.”—BookPage
 
“[An] irresistible madcap adventure.”—PopSugar
 
“Stewart leaves the reader wondering about one mystery still developing unsolved . . . Readers will just have to wait—impatiently, no doubt—for book No. 3.”—Boston Globe 
Named a Best Book by: Entertainment Weekly, Wired, Esquire, Buzzfeed, The A.V. Club, Book Riot, PopSugar, The Rumpus, My Republica, Paste, Bitch,Bustle, Christian Science Monitor, The Chicago Review of Books, The Coil, iBooks, and Publishers Weekly

From the author of The Queen of the Night, an essay collection exploring his education as a man, writer, and activist—and how we form our identities in life and in art.

As a novelist, Alexander Chee has been described as “masterful” by Roxane Gay, “incendiary” by the New York Times, and "brilliant" by the Washington Post. With How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, his first collection of nonfiction, he’s sure to secure his place as one of the finest essayists of his generation as well.
 
How to Write an Autobiographical Novel is the author’s manifesto on the entangling of life, literature, and politics, and how the lessons learned from a life spent reading and writing fiction have changed him. In these essays, he grows from student to teacher, reader to writer, and reckons with his identities as a son, a gay man, a Korean American, an artist, an activist, a lover, and a friend. He examines some of the most formative experiences of his life and the nation’s history, including his father’s death, the AIDS crisis, 9/11, the jobs that supported his writing—Tarot-reading, bookselling, cater-waiting for William F. Buckley—the writing of his first novel, Edinburgh, and the election of Donald Trump.
 
By turns commanding, heartbreaking, and wry, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel asks questions about how we create ourselves in life and in art, and how to fight when our dearest truths are under attack.
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