Neon in Daylight
by Hoby, Hermione

A young Englishwoman cat-sitting in a Manhattan apartment breaks from her previously mundane life after befriending an embittered writer and his daughter, a recent high school graduate who makes money fulfilling the fantasies of men she meets on Craigslist. Original.

Hermione Hoby grew up in south London and has lived in New York since 2010. She is a freelance journalist who writes about culture and gender for publications including The New Yorker, The Guardian, The New York Times, and The Times Literary Supplement. She also writes the "Stranger of the Week" column for The Awl. Neon in Daylight is her first novel.

Kate's not sure if she's running away from England, where she has a boyfriend and an unfinished PhD, or toward New York and a too-good-to-pass-up housesitting opportunity. Either way, she finds herself dropped in Manhattan on the Fourth of July 2012. Drifting and feeling lonely, she takes up smoking with her first pack of American Spirits and soon meets magnetic 19-year-old Inez, a bad barista and a better recreational drug dealer, and Inez's hard-partying father, Bill, a professor and writer who found early fame not exactly on his own terms. (The three will remain unaware of their interconnectedness for some time.) A collaborative narration style, closely following Kate, Inez, and Bill, comes somewhat at the cost of deeper characterizations and creates several coincidental encounters, but it also makes for highly propulsive reading that keeps readers a half-step ahead of characters. With effortlessly fluid prose, Hoby, herself a New York transplant from London, excels most promisingly in depicting the vivid, perhaps most iconic American city, especially as seen through the eyes of a curious and perceptive newcomer. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

A young British woman ditches both her boyfriend and her Ph.D. program for a temporary reprieve catsitting in New York City and finds herself enmeshed in the lives of a charismatic aging writer and his aggressively free-spirited daughter in Hoby's debut.Taking up residence in the budget boho home of her mother's one-time best friend—now off on a post-divorce round-the-world tour of self-discovery ("You gotta live, you know?" she advises)—Kate arrives in New York in the summer of 2012 with no particular plan except avoiding her actual life at home. She is lost—in the city, existentially—which makes her available to chance and amenable to risk, and it is in this unmoored state, riding the waves of the city, that she meets Inez, an arrestingly beautiful recent high school grad and lackluster barista who moonlights fulfilling the fantasies of men from Craigslist. It is a modern Shakespearian comedy that brings them together: Inez is waiting for someone nam ed Kate to show up and buy Adderall and meets our Kate instead, a Kate, but not the one she is looking for, and the two strike up an uneasy friendship. Kate is attracted to Inez's edge; Inez is drawn to Kate's blank-seeming straightness. But the city, it turns out, is not all that big, and at a gallery opening (enormous paintings of video stills of pornography), Kate meets Bill, a one-hit wonder novelist who has, since his publication at 24, which was followed by a movie adaptation, become a professor, divorced, and assumed his position as bitterly cool dad. What Kate doesn't know on their first date— doesn't know until an inevitable scene much later—is that he is, specifically, the father of Inez. Vivid as they are, both Bill and Inez never quite stop feeling like familiar sketches, types of people who never quite ascend to the status of individuals. Kate, meanwhile, rides their waves, a cypher, her distinguishing characteristic being her general lack of them. B u t Hoby is a master of atmosphere, and if the characters don't stick, the vibrant loneliness of the city does.Energetic, if uneven. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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