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The Hotel Neversink
Cover of The Hotel Neversink
The Hotel Neversink
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A 2020 Edgar Award Winner!

"A gripping, atmospheric, heart-breaking, almost-ghost story. Not since Stephen King's Overlook has a hotel hiding a secret been brought to such vivid life." —Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State

Thirty-one years after workers first broke ground, the magnificent Hotel Neversink in the Catskills finally opens to the public. Then a young boy disappears.

This mysterious vanishing—and the ones that follow—will brand the lives of three generations. At the root of it all is Asher Sikorsky, the ambitious and ruthless patriarch whose purchase of the hotel in 1931 set a haunting legacy into motion. His daughter Jeanie sees the Hotel Neversink into its most lucrative era, but also its darkest. Decades later, Asher's grandchildren grapple with the family's heritage in their own ways: Len fights to keep the failing, dilapidated hotel alive, and Alice sets out to finally uncover the murderer's identity.

Told by an unforgettable chorus of Sikorsky family members—a matriarch, a hotel maid, a traveling comedian, the hotel detective, and many others—The Hotel Neversink is the gripping portrait of a Jewish family in the Catskills over the course of a century. With an unerring eye and with prose both comic and tragic, Adam O'Fallon-Price details one man's struggle for greatness, no matter the cost, and a long-held family secret that threatens to undo it all.

A 2020 Edgar Award Winner!

"A gripping, atmospheric, heart-breaking, almost-ghost story. Not since Stephen King's Overlook has a hotel hiding a secret been brought to such vivid life." —Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State

Thirty-one years after workers first broke ground, the magnificent Hotel Neversink in the Catskills finally opens to the public. Then a young boy disappears.

This mysterious vanishing—and the ones that follow—will brand the lives of three generations. At the root of it all is Asher Sikorsky, the ambitious and ruthless patriarch whose purchase of the hotel in 1931 set a haunting legacy into motion. His daughter Jeanie sees the Hotel Neversink into its most lucrative era, but also its darkest. Decades later, Asher's grandchildren grapple with the family's heritage in their own ways: Len fights to keep the failing, dilapidated hotel alive, and Alice sets out to finally uncover the murderer's identity.

Told by an unforgettable chorus of Sikorsky family members—a matriarch, a hotel maid, a traveling comedian, the hotel detective, and many others—The Hotel Neversink is the gripping portrait of a Jewish family in the Catskills over the course of a century. With an unerring eye and with prose both comic and tragic, Adam O'Fallon-Price details one man's struggle for greatness, no matter the cost, and a long-held family secret that threatens to undo it all.

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Adam O'Fallon Price received his MFA at Cornell University. His work has been published in The Paris Review, Vice, The Iowa Review, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere. His first novel The Grand Tour was published in 2016. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    June 1, 2019
    A generational saga that chronicles the legacy of the Sikorskys--Jewish émigrés from Eastern Europe--across the span of four generations as they grapple with the aftermath of a dark secret in the declining grandeur of the family's Catskills hotel. Price's (The Grand Tour, 2016) second novel opens in 1931 in the small town of Liberty, New York, with the news that George B. Foley--eccentric transportation tycoon--has committed suicide. As Foley died without heirs, his property is sold at auction to local Jewish innkeeper Asher Sikorsky. Asher, a fiercely proud patriarch whom bad luck seems to follow from continent to continent, manages to transform both the building and his own fortunes, and--with the help of his wife and children--renovates the vacant manor into the thriving Hotel Neversink, crown jewel of the Catskills Borscht Belt circuit. And yet the tale Price pieces together over the course of his decade-hopping chapters--narrated by indomitable hotel manager Jeanie Sikorsky; her comedian brother, Joseph; Jeanie's earnest grandson Lenny and dissolute grandniece Alice; the taciturn hotel detective; a kleptomaniac second cousin who works as a hotel maid; and a loosely affiliated host of other Sikorskys or hangers-on--has more to do with the aftermath of the family's success than it does with their hard-won triumphs. In 1950, when a young boy disappears on the property, the hotel's idyll is rocked; in 1973, when 9-year-old Alice is assaulted in a basement storeroom where the missing boy's bones come to light, its long decline is inevitable. Yet even as the remaining Sikorskys fight over whether to maintain their family's legacy or cut their losses and thus save the family itself, there are those among them who wonder if the children who have disappeared from the towns and woods around The Neversink are victims of coincidence or part of a calculated plot to destroy the family. Part genealogy, part murder mystery, part ghost story, the book's ambitions overwhelm its scope. The result is a powerfully wrought novel of a specifically American place and time inhabited by appealing characters who are only fuzzily sketched. A last-minute revelation resolves the book's central mystery with unconvincing, explosive drama, and the reader is left wondering not what will happen next to the suffering Sikorskys but rather where all the careful nuance of the previous pages has gone. A book of great ambition and promise that errs on the side of a poorly conceived plot.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 24, 2019
    Centered on a rambling hotel in the Catskills, the striking latest from Price (The Grand Tour) is part multigenerational saga, part murder mystery. In 1950, a young boy, Jonah, goes missing from the Hotel Neversink, and his disappearance kicks off a string of similar crimes that stretch across decades. The owners of the hotel, the Sikorsky family, avert scandal, until Jonah’s remains are discovered in the hotel’s basement in 1973. With no obvious suspects, the Sikorskys suffer the ups and downs of running a business associated with an unsolved murder, entertaining crime buffs and conspiracy theorists while the hotel—passed down from patriarch, Asher, to his daughter, Jeanie, and eventually to his grandson, Len—slowly loses its luster with vacationers, despite Len’s dedication to keeping the family business alive. Price focuses each chapter on a single character, which gives the work a novel-in-stories feel that periodically drifts from the hotel. As a result, the central mystery moves into the background, yet it never fully vanishes, wearing on characters without their acknowledgement as they face marital strain, addiction, and depression. Price is a sharp writer, and his novel wonderfully critiques family obligation while simultaneously delivering a crafty, sinister whodunit.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from July 1, 2019

    The disappearance of a child at a Catskills resort hotel in the 1950s eventually opens the door on a secret family history that threatens to undo the hotel and with it a family's legacy. Jeannie Sikorsky and her son, Len, run the Hotel Neversink, an unfinished mansion purchased by her immigrant father, Asher, and turned into a hotel that becomes one of the jewels of the Borscht Belt. By the late 1960s, it has fallen on hard times owing to cultural changes and the continuing disappearance of children in the area, leading Len to concoct increasingly desperate schemes to try to restore the hotel's prominence and the family's fortunes. Complications arise when cousin Alice, who was attacked and left for dead by the killer at the hotel in the 1970s, becomes determined finally to discover the identity of her attacker and by doing so save her own life. VERDICT Told by a cast of family members that spans generations, this is a family saga with a mystery at its heart and a Doctorow-like take on the rise and fall of a particular era of American life and the American dream. Price (The Grand Tour) has written a compelling chronicle of grand dreams and dark secrets.--Lawrence Rungren, Andover, MA

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from July 1, 2019
    The Catskills resorts in upstate New York have been a destination for Jewish families for generations. The optimistically named Hotel Neversink in Price's sophomore novel (following The Grand Tour, 2016), is the sturdy bedrock on which the Sikorskys, a Polish family who immigrated to America between the world wars, pins all their hopes and dreams. But in 1950, a child goes missing at the resort, setting off a string of seemingly random disappearances that haunt the family, other relatives, and guests for a generation. Chapters are voiced by individuals in chronological order, each with their peculiar yet startingly relatable story to tell. Jeanie, the family matriarch, begins, recounting how her father, Asher's, bold determination in opening the Neversink triumphed over memories of freezing cold and excruciating hunger in the old country. The disappearances that occur after Asher's death influence every subsequent character's life in this fresh take on the generational mystery. On the resort grounds, family fortunes and failures are revealed, young love is clumsily sought, and secrets haunt the halls like the ghosts seen in the nearby forest by so many guests. The storytelling structure that Price has constructed will leave the reader slack-jawed and eager to reread.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

  • Publishers Weekly Price is a sharp writer, and his novel wonderfully critiques family obligation while simultaneously delivering a crafty, sinister whodunit.
  • Booklist (Starred Review) The storytelling structure that Price has constructed will leave the reader slackjawed and eager to reread.
  • Ling Ma, author of SEVERANCE Thoroughly absorbing... Spanning almost a century, The Hotel Neversink is a multi-layered tale of family, fortune, and fate that grows eerily compelling with every passing page.
  • J. Robert Lennon, author of BROKEN RIVER The Hotel Neversink is an astounding literary feat—a murder mystery, a ghost story, a century-spanning family history, and a standup routine all in one, with dramatic variety to rival any Catskills floor show. Adam O'Fallon Price writes with the blackly comic energy of Philip Roth or Lorrie Moore, packing ten novels' worth of narrative into this compact knish of a book. I wolfed it down in a couple of bites.
  • Star Tribune Price takes big risks that allow him to perform dizzying feats.
  • Lydia Kiesling, author of THE GOLDEN STATE A gripping, atmospheric, heart-breaking, almost-ghost story. Not since Stephen King's Overlook has a hotel hiding a secret been brought to such vivid life.
  • Library Journal (Starred Review) Told by a cast of family members that spans generations, this is a family saga with a mystery at its heart and a Doctorow-like take on the rise and fall of a particular era of American life and the American dream. Price (The Grand Tour) has written a compelling chronicle of grand dreams and dark secrets.
  • Daniel Wallace, author of BIG FISH Adam O'Fallon Price's The Hotel Neversink, like its namesake, contains many rooms: behind this door, a tragic family saga; behind that one, a comic love story. And behind it all a mystery that keeps you guessing until the very end. Book your stay soon.
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