A sweeping work of historical fiction from the New 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 Lumière 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 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 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.
Praise for The Electric Hotel
“A long-retired moviemaker recalls the early days of silent films in Smith’s atmospheric follow-up to The Last Painting of Sara De Vos…Smith skillfully blends film history with the adventures of his cast…A compelling plot, robust characters, and finely crafted prose richly evoke a bygone age and art.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“As fresh and deliciously strange as the first days of film-making it so dazzlingly brings to life, The Electric Hotel is utterly absorbing, astonishingly inventive, and richly imagined. Dominic Smith is a wizard.”
—Andrea Barrett, National Book Award winner and author of Archangel
Dominic Smith grew up in Sydney, Australia, and now lives in Seattle, Washington. He’s the author of the novels The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, Bright and Distant Shores, The Beautiful Miscellaneous, and The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Texas Monthly, and The Australian. He has been a recipient of literature grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Australia Council for the Arts. He teaches writing in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.