The Electric Hotel

The Electric Hotel

From the New York Times bestselling author Dominic Smith, a radiant novel tracing the intertwined fates of a silent-film director and his muse

Dominic Smith’s The Electric Hotel winds through the nascent days of cinema in Paris and Fort Lee, New Jersey—America’s first movie town—and on the battlefields of Belgium during World War I. A sweeping work of historical fiction, it shimmers between past and present as it tells the story of the rise and fall of a prodigious film studio and one man’s doomed obsession with all that passes in front of the viewfinder.

For nearly half a century, Claude Ballard has been living at the Hollywood Knickerbocker Hotel. A French pioneer of silent films, who started out as a concession agent for the Lumière brothers, the inventors of cinema, Claude now spends his days foraging mushrooms in the hills of Los Angeles and taking photographs of runaways and the striplings along Sunset Boulevard. But when a film-history student comes to interview Claude about The Electric Hotel—the lost masterpiece that bankrupted him and ended the career of his muse, Sabine Montrose—the past comes surging back. In his run-down hotel suite, the ravages of the past are waiting to be excavated: celluloid fragments and reels in desperate need of restoration, and Claude’s memories of the woman who inspired and beguiled him.

Title:The Electric Hotel
ISBN:9780374719692
Format Type:

    The Electric Hotel Reviews

  • Carolyn

    Dominic Smith has written a fascinating account of the early days of film, borrowing his title from that of a recently rediscovered and restored silent film from 1908. Through his main character, Fren...

  • Sue

    The Electric Hotel is a love letter to an earlier time, not necessarily an easier time, but the early years of film, a time of adventure, excitement, exploration, wild success and horrible failure. Al...

  • Erin

    Goodreads giveaway win!...

  • karen

    my SECOND goodreads win of the year! after a very disappointing first six months, maybe my luck is finally turning!!! ...

  • Dale Harcombe

    Claude Ballard, is an eighty five year old man at the beginning of this story. He is waiting for Martin Embry, a film buff and historian who wants to learn about Claude’s career as one of the early ...

  • Andrea

    Claude Ballard has been living in the Hollywood Knickerbocker Hotel for almost half a century. His suite is crammed with rapidly deteriorating film reels and other memorabilia from his days as a laude...

  • Kasa Cotugno

    When I ask a man what he's reading, usually the answer is "history." I know this sounds sexist, but men gravitate more in that direction and feel a deeper interest in history, and Dominic Smith is a p...

  • Marianne

    The Electric Hotel is the fifth novel by award-winning Australian-born author, Dominic Smith. For over thirty years, semi-reclusive French cinematic genius, Claude Ballard has kept a suite at Hollywoo...

  • Faith

    The Electric Hotel was the title of a very ambitious silent movie made by the director Claude Ballard, his muse and actress Sabine Montrose, stuntman Chip Spaulding and the producer and impresario Hal...

  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    To be reviewed over at Fresh Fiction!...