The Electric Hotel: Book summary and reviews of The Electric Hotel by Dominic Smith

The Electric Hotel

A Novel

by Dominic Smith

The Electric Hotel by Dominic Smith X
The Electric Hotel by Dominic Smith
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Jun 4, 2019
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

From the New York Times bestselling author Dominic Smith, a radiant novel tracing the intertwined fates of a silent-film director and his muse.

Dominic Smith's The Electric Hotel winds through the nascent days of cinema in Paris and Fort Lee, New Jersey―America's first movie town―and on the battlefields of Belgium during World War I. A sweeping work of historical fiction, it shimmers between past and present as it tells the story of the rise and fall of a prodigious film studio and one man's doomed obsession with all that passes in front of the viewfinder.

For nearly half a century, 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 Lumière brothers, the inventors of cinema, Claude now spends his days foraging 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 about The 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 and reels in desperate need of restoration, and Claude's memories of the woman who inspired and beguiled him.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A compelling plot, robust characters, and finely crafted prose richly evoke a bygone age and art." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Smith tries to cover too much territory, but Ballard is finely rendered, and there are quite a few edge-of-your-seat moments." - Library Journal

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Author Information

Dominic Smith Author Biography

Photo: Stacy Sodolak

Dominic grew up in Sydney, Australia and now lives in Austin, Texas. He is the author, most recently, of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, a New York Times Bestseller, a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice, and an Amazon Editors' Top Pick.

His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The Atlantic Monthly, Texas Monthly, the Chicago Tribune, and The New York Times. His other novels are: The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre, The Beautiful Miscellaneous, and Bright and Distant Shores. Dominic's awards include the Dobie Paisano Fellowship from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Prize, the Gulf Coast Fiction Prize, and a new works grant from the Australia Council for the Arts. His fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and been...

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