What Happens at Night by Peter Cameron
On Sale August 4, 2020 • ISBN 9781948226967
An American couple travel to a strange, snowy European city to adopt a baby, who they hope will resurrect their failing marriage. This difficult journey leaves the wife, who is struggling with cancer, desperately weak, and her husband worries that her apparent illness will prevent the orphanage from releasing their child.
The couple check into the cavernous and eerily deserted Borgarfjaroasysla Grand Imperial Hotel where the bar is always open and the restaurant serves thirteen-course dinners from centuries past. Their attempt to claim their baby is both helped and hampered by the people they encounter: an ancient, flamboyant chanteuse, a debauched businessman, an enigmatic faith healer, and a stoic bartender who dispenses an addictive, lichen-flavored schnapps. Nothing is as it seems in this mysterious, frozen world, and the longer the couple endure the punishing cold the less they seem to know about their marriage, themselves, and life itself.
What Happens at Night is a "masterpiece" (Edmund White) poised on the cusp of reality, told by "an elegantly acute and mysteriously beguiling writer" (Richard Eder, The Boston Globe).
"A surreal, funny, heartbreaking story about love and mortality. Cameron’s sense of balance between the comic and the catastrophic, between cynicism and sincerity, is astonishing. This book reminds me of nothing else I’ve ever read, which is high praise indeed." ―Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours and The Snow Queen
"What Happens at Night finds its home among the mid-twentieth-century classics of psychological realism, as brutal, in its way, as The Sheltering Sky, and just as memorable, just as peopled with the deep human mysteries." ―Rick Moody, author of the The Ice Storm and The Long Accomplishment
"This book is a masterpiece―reading it reminds me of the first time I read Kafka. A whole new vision is suddenly revealed: unique, unexpected, unforgettable.” ―Edmund White, author of A Boy’s Own Story
“Faultlessly elegant and quietly menacing, like a tuxedo lined with knives. Peter Cameron is one of America’s greatest writers, the living stylist I most revere.” —Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
Peter Cameron is the author of eight novels (including Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You and Coral Glynn) and three collections of stories. His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Rolling Stone, and many other literary journals. He lives in New York City and Sandgate, Vermont.