What’s It About? (From the back cover) From the moment Louisa first catches sight of the strange man who occupies a forbidden room on the thirty-third floor, she is determined to befriend him. Unbeknownst to Louisa, he is Nikola Tesla—inventor of AC electricity and wireless communication—and he is living out his last days at the Hotel New Yorker. Winning his attention through a shared love of pigeons, she eventually uncovers the story of Tesla’s life as a Serbian immigrant and a visionary genius: as a boy he built engines powered by June bugs, as a man he dreamed of pulling electricity from the sky. The mystery deepens when Louisa reunites with an enigmatic former classmate and faces the loss of her father as he attempts to travel to the past to meet up with his beloved late wife. Before the week is out, Louisa must come to terms with her own understanding of love, death, and the power of invention.
Why This? I love to have the opportunity to explore historical figures through fictional works. Most often the authors have pored over lots and lots of information in order to uncover the juiciest and most interesting facts. I get a good story and also a starting point for my own research. Usually if a book is really good I am curious to know what turned out to be the true facts, and also to explore alternate versions of the facts. A lot of times historians have interesting and competing theories. I first heard about Nikola Tesla in high school, and there have not been that many novels floating around about the man that gave us AC electricity and wireless communication, so I was particularly interested when I came across this one. I also love it when a good mystery is woven into the fabric of the story, so I am looking forward to reading this.
About the Author: Samantha Hunt is the author of the acclaimed first novel The Seas, which in 2006 won a National Book Foundation award for writers under the age of thirty-five. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker and McSweeney’s. She lives in New York.