“There are plenty of novels about hedonistic young people, washed-up alcoholic writers, or aimless academics struggling to find themselves. Few of them are written with the intelligence, freshness, honesty, style, observational eye, and command of language on display in Hermione Hoby's impressive debut, Neon in Daylight. As the lives of the three main characters (and a cat named Joni Mitchell) converge against the backdrop of a lonely, doomed, and dying downtown New York City, you'll find yourself missing your bus stop because you cannot put down this book.”
— Nadine Vassallo, Book Soup, West Hollywood, CA
“In an ocean of New York City coming-of-age novels, it’s hard to stand out—but Neon in Daylight does. Hermione Hoby writes with prose so compelling and gorgeous that after I finished the book I looked her up to see if she was a poet. The characters she creates are interesting and sometimes infuriating, and I felt my heart break with them. It’s also one of those rare books that gets the sensory detail just right, that made me feel oppressed by heat and almost sweaty. I loved this book. I picked it up on a whim and didn’t put it down until I was done.”
— Sarah Malley, Newtonville Books, Newton Centre, MA
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
"A radiant first novel. . . . Neon in Daylight] has antecedents in the great novels of the 1970s: Renata Adler's Speedboat, Elizabeth Hardwick's Sleepless Nights, Joan Didion's Play It as It Lays. . . . Precision--of observation, of language--is Hoby's gift. Her sentences are sleek and tailored. Language molds snugly to thought." --Parul Sehgal, The New York Times
"What do you get when a writer of extreme intelligence, insight, style and beauty chronicles the lives of self-absorbed hedonists--The Great Gatsby, Bright Lights, Big City, and now Neon in Daylight. Hermione Hoby paints a garish world that drew me in and held me spellbound. She is a marvel." --Ann Patchett, author of Commonwealth
New York City in 2012, the sweltering summer before Hurricane Sandy hits. Kate, a young woman newly arrived from England, is staying in a Manhattan apartment while she tries to figure out her future. She has two unfortunate responsibilities during her time in America: to make regular Skype calls to her miserable boyfriend back home, and to cat-sit an indifferent feline named Joni Mitchell.
The city has other plans for her. In New York's parks and bodegas, its galleries and performance spaces, its bars and clubs crowded with bodies, Kate encounters two strangers who will transform her stay: Bill, a charismatic but embittered writer made famous by the movie version of his only novel; and Inez, his daughter, a recent high school graduate who supplements her Bushwick cafe salary by enacting the fantasies of men she meets on Craigslist. Unmoored from her old life, Kate falls into an infatuation with both of them.
Set in a heatwave that feels like it will never break, Neon In Daylight marries deep intelligence with captivating characters to offer us a joyful, unflinching exploration of desire, solitude, and the thin line between life and art.