The Paragon Hotel (Hardcover)
January 2019 Indie Next List
“Good gracious. I just adore all things written by Lyndsay Faye. Like her glorious Gods of Gotham series,The Paragon Hotel is a clever, fast-paced read with a unique ensemble of characters. Set during the Prohibition era, the novel bounces between the mafia-ridden streets of Harlem and the racially tense community of Portland, Oregon. Steeped in historical detail, The Paragon Hotel is wickedly smart and wholly entertaining. Faye has given readers another deviously delicious story.”
— Anderson McKean, Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL
The new and exciting historical thriller by Lyndsay Faye, author of Edgar-nominated Jane Steele and Gods of Gotham, which follows Alice "Nobody" from Prohibition-era Harlem to Portland's the Paragon Hotel.
The year is 1921, and "Nobody" Alice James is on a cross-country train, carrying a bullet wound and fleeing for her life following an illicit drug and liquor deal gone horribly wrong. Desperate to get as far away as possible from New York City and those who want her dead, she has her sights set on Oregon: a distant frontier that seems the end of the line.
She befriends Max, a black Pullman porter who reminds her achingly of Harlem, who leads Alice to the Paragon Hotel upon arrival in Portland. Her unlikely sanctuary turns out to be the only all-black hotel in the city, and its lodgers seem unduly terrified of a white woman on the premises. But as she meets the churlish Dr. Pendleton, the stately Mavereen, and the unforgettable club chanteuse Blossom Fontaine, she begins to understand the reason for their dread. The Ku Klux Klan has arrived in Portland in fearful numbers--burning crosses, inciting violence, electing officials, and brutalizing blacks. And only Alice, along with her new "family" of Paragon residents, are willing to search for a missing mulatto child who has mysteriously vanished into the Oregon woods.
Why was "Nobody" Alice James forced to escape Harlem? Why do the Paragon's denizens live in fear--and what other sins are they hiding? Where did the orphaned child who went missing from the hotel, Davy Lee, come from in the first place? And, perhaps most important, why does Blossom Fontaine seem to be at the very center of this tangled web?
About the Author
Lyndsay Faye is the author of five critically acclaimed books: Jane Steele, which was nominated for an Edgar for Best Novel; Dust and Shadow; The Gods of Gotham, also Edgar-nominated; Seven for a Secret; and The Fatal Flame. Faye, a true New Yorker in the sense she was born elsewhere, lives in New York City with her husband, Gabriel.
Praise for The Paragon Hotel
“Utterly winning . . . Faye writes a good puzzle . . . [and she’s] a person meant to write, who thinks and jokes and understands by writing. It’s a rare gift..”—New York Times Book Review
“The Paragon Hotel is set a century ago, but its themes of social and cultural upheaval feel sufficiently fresh that you might think twice about calling Lyndsay Faye’s sixth novel historical fiction. But calling it terrific—not for a minute should you hesitate to do that....The great strength of “The Paragon Hotel” is Ms. Faye’s voice—a blend of film noir and screwball comedy....The jauntiness of the prose doesn’t hide the fact that Ms. Faye has serious business on her mind. At bottom, The Paragon Hotel is about identity and about family—those we’re born into and those we create.”—The Wall Street Journal
"With complex, believable characters and an intricate plot, this is a sprightly, enjoyable read."—People
“This books succeeds wildly on several levels. First, as a beautiful period piece, slangy and jazzy and bringing 1921 to brilliant life. Second, as a lesson about the racist history of Oregon. . . . And third, as a suspense story. . . . I love so much about this book.”—Raleigh News and Observer
“This historical novel, which carries strong reverberations of present-day social and cultural upheavals, contains a message from a century ago that's useful to our own time: ‘We need to do better at solving things.’ A riveting multilevel thriller of race, sex, and mob violence that throbs with menace as it hums with wit.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Faye once again vividly illuminates history with her fiction....remarkably fluid fiction, framed as a love letter and based in fact.”—Booklist (starred review)
“From the opening scene, this novel had me in its grip. Faye delivers a riveting story filled with unforgettable characters and stunning prose, while never flinching from the painful truths surrounding America’s legacy of racial injustice. A remarkable, significant novel.”—Fiona Davis, bestselling author of The Masterpiece
“Full of wry wit, dark humor and magnificent period details, The Paragon Hotel is a wickedly poetic tour de force.”—Laura Lane McNeal, national bestselling author of Dollbaby
“Gangsters and prostitutes, nightclub singers and dodgy cops, an African-American hotel under constant threat of violence...Lyndsay Faye drops us right in the middle of the tumult of the Prohibition Era, bringing to life one of the darker times in our nation's history with wit and heart.”—Lauren Willig, New York Times-bestselling author of The English Wife
“A novel at once thrilling and wise, historic and timely. ‘Nobody’ is somebody who will stay with you long after you turn the last page.”—Natasha Solomons, New York Times-bestselling author of House of Gold