Did you know that today is the 145th anniversary of the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art? Fitting, if I may say so, considering this week’s Featured Read is a beautiful novel all about art!
389 pages and I was captivated by every single one of them. The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill is not your average love story.
Rose and Pierrot seem doomed from the start, living in a Montreal orphanage in 1910, but they quickly win the hearts of some of the most impressionable members of society. They dream of one day directing a show of their own, The Snowflake Icicle Extravaganza. Their talents take them on many a great adventure, but Rose and Pierrot quickly learn that all good things must come to an end.
Pierrot is the first to leave the orphanage and Rose is devastated. They were best friends (and maybe a bit in love with each other), and now they have been separated without the opportunity to say goodbye. Rose leaves a short time later, and the two go about their lives wondering what became of the other. Depression-era Montreal is not kind to the working class, and Rose and Pierrot push the limits of what they will do to survive. Brothels, heroin, and thieves are just the beginning. This isn’t a book for the faint of heart.
When Rose and Pierrot finally reunite years later, they can’t believe their luck. After waiting and working all these years, it’s finally their turn to stand in the spotlight. But, as they are both well-aware by now, good times never last.
“It’s so wonderful looking at him now. It makes me remember how I used to feel about him, or that you could feel like that with a man. Just like companions and not like competitors. I stopped worrying about things. It was like I was in a boat and the boat stopped rocking. He made me feel safe so I could have all these dangerous thoughts. I think that’s what love is.”
I can’t say enough about this brilliant work of art by Heather O’Neill. She writes her characters with such honesty and such grace that I still find myself wondering what they’re up to and how they’re holding up. The Lonely Hearts Hotel reminded me a lot of Pulitzer Prizewinner The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Both novels are centered around a love of art, and much like The Goldfinch’s Theo, Rose and Pierrot grow into pseudo-adults whose transformations are unique, entertaining, and downright heartbreaking. If you liked The Goldfinch, I guarantee you’ll love The Lonely Hearts Hotel even more!
Rose and Pierrot’s love was (and still is) so real to me. Even in their absence from the other’s lives, they never let themselves lose hope. Their love is so pure and so candid that I truly felt their longing.
Did you love this book as much as I did? How do you feel about Rose and Pierrot’s relationship? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @SavvyReader.
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