“A truly brilliant novel. This is a story about madness and music, forbidden love, entrapment and escape—all written in Plunkett’s electric and propulsive prose. It’s the most compelling novel I’ve read all year; I couldn’t put it down. Stunning. »—Anna Hogeland, author of The Long Answer
IN THE LOBBY OF THE DREAM HOTEL
by Genevieve Plunkett
Catapult, August 2023
(via Defiore &Co.)
Portia, a young mother and amateur musician, lives a life ruled by doctors. Having been committed to a psychiatric hospital in her twenties, she must remain cautious about her mental health, especially when a strange series of delusions begin to resurface a decade later. To make matters more complicated, Portia discovers one day that she is in love with her band’s drummer, Theo. Portia and Theo find out that they have a somewhat incredible—almost magical—connection, that not even they can understand. Portia, feeling guilty, confesses this psychic love affair to her husband Nathan who is a powerful figure, a prosecutor, in their Vermont town.
Charismatic and manipulative, he initiates an intervention with Portia’s parents, convincing them that their daughter’s decision to leave him and her claims of emotional abuse are symptoms of her mental illness. Portia is hospitalized for a second time in her life. There, Portia must face the delusions of her past. She must also decide whether she can trust her own intuition and accept the beauty and strangeness of her life, without being influenced by her past, her family’s pressure, or her diagnosis.
Genevieve Plunkett is the recipient of an O. Henry Award and the author of the story collection Prepare Her. Her work has also appeared in The Best Small Fictions, and journals such as New England Review, The Southern Review, Crazyhorse, The Colorado Review, Willow Springs, Literary Hub, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, and Refinery29. She lives in Vermont with her two children.