The Queen of the Night

The Queen of the Night, my new novel out February 2nd, has made the best of 2016 preview lists for Book Riot, Bookish, Bustle, BBC Books, Huffington Post BooksBrooklyn Mag,  The Millions, Chicago Reader, Flavorwire, Kirkus Reviews, and Entertainment Weekly.


Last year at this time my biggest fear was that I could work on a novel all this time–a little over a decade–and no one would care. As Mary Gaitskill said recently, most writers are greeted with a deafening silence. So I’m incredibly happy and grateful about this reception.

Some early praise for The Queen of the Night has come in also.

“A night at an opera you’ll wish never-ending.”

–Helen Oyeyemi, author of Mr. Fox and Boy Snow Bird

“One doesn’t so much read Alexander Chee’s The Queen of the Night as one is bewitched by it. Beneath its epic sweep, gorgeous language, and haunting details is the most elemental, and eternal, of narratives: that of the necessities and perils of self-reinvention, and the sorrow and giddiness of aspiring to a life of artistic transcendance.”

–Hanya Yanagihara, author of A Little Life and People In The Trees

The Queen of the Night is a luminous universe into which its lucky readers can dissolve completely, metamorphosing alongside its shapeshifting protagonist. Lilliet Berne steals her name from a gravestone and launches into a life of full-throated song; her voice is an intoxicant, and this book is a glorious performance. Chee’s enveloping, seductive prose is perfectly matched to the circus world of the opera.”

–Karen Russell, New York Times Best Selling author of Swamplandia! and Vampires In The Lemon Grove

“Alexander Chee packs his extraordinary second novel, The Queen of the Night, to the seams with music, love, misery, and secrets. The kind of book—world—characters—you could live inside, happily, for days and days and never once want to come up for air.”

–Kelly Link, author of Get In Trouble and Magic For Beginners

“A mesmerizing tale of power and passion. Chee gives us an unforgettable heroine and a rich cast of characters—many of them real historical figures. The story dazzles and surprises right up until the final page.”

–J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times Best-Selling author of Maine and The Engagements

“Richly researched, ornately plotted, this story demands, and repays, close attention.”

–Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“Chee’s lush and sweeping second novel uses a strikingly different setting from his accomplished debut, Edinburgh, but shares its musical themes and boldness… a moving meditation on the transformative power of fate, art, time, and sheer survival.”

–Publishers’ Weekly

When renowned soprano Lilliet Berne, the toast of Belle Epoque Paris, is offered the role of a lifetime in an original opera, she is shocked to realize that the libretto seems to be based on her own life. After reinventing herself and carefully shrouding the secrets of her early years, she believed she had moved away from the scandal, shame, and intrigue of her youth forever. Reaching back into time, she recalls her Minnesota childhood, her escape to Paris, her adventures as a hippodrome rider, her career as a courtesan, her stint as a spy, and her meteoric rise through the cutthroat ranks of the opera world. In order to unravel the mystery of who has betrayed her, she reviews her entire entangled history, recalling the twists and turns of her own life as well as the sweeping history of an era along the way. Peppering the unfolding plot with real-life events and figures, Chee provides a suitably operatic backdrop for the mesmerizing novel.


If you’re just arriving to this blog for the first time after reading one of these items, thank you and hello. You can pre-order the novel here at your favorite bookseller.


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