Monday, May 22, 7pm
I was writing a novel about Engracia, but halfway through, I went to this tired little nightclub in a casino that was about to close, and saw a terrific show. The four entertainers were veteran performers – quite old, but wow, could they sing and dance. I fell into a reverie about the people who had come in and out of that nightclub over 50 years, and thought back to all the wonderful performances that I had seen in Las Vegas. There’s so much magic possible in live entertainment, and the magic depends on the audience as well as the artist. I walked out of that lovely, little-known show with an entirely different novel in my head: one that revolved around a nightclub, from its heyday in the 1950’s to the months before it is to be imploded. 'Round Midnight evolved a lot from that original conception, but I had such fun weaving an array of characters into a novel sprung from an iconic Vegas place. Some of those characters are brand new to me, but others have been in my mind for a long time; I first started thinking about Honorata twenty-five years ago.
From the author of We Are Called to Rise comes a novel about the interconnected lives of four women in Las Vegas, each of whom experiences a life-changing moment at a classic casino nightclub.
Spanning the six decades when Las Vegas grew from a dusty gambling town into the melting pot metropolis it is today, ‘Round Midnight is the story of four women—one who falls in love, one who gets lucky, one whose heart is broken, and one who chooses happiness—whose lives change at the Midnight Room.
June Stein and her husband open the El Capitan casino in the 1950s, and rocket to success after hiring a charismatic black singer to anchor their nightclub. Their fast-paced lifestyle runs aground as racial tensions mount.
Honorata leaves the Philippines as a mail order bride to a Chicago businessman, then hits a jackpot at the Midnight Room when he takes her on a weekend trip to Las Vegas.
Engracia, a Mexican immigrant whose lucky find at the Midnight Room leads to heartbreak, becomes enmeshed in Honorata’s secret when she opens her employer’s door to that Chicago businessman—and his gun.
And then there is Coral, an African-American teacher who struggles with her own mysterious past. A favor for Honorata takes her to the Midnight Room, where she hits a jackpot of another kind.
Mining the rich territory of motherhood and community, ‘Round Midnight is a story that mirrors the social transformation of our nation. Full of passion, heartbreak, heroism, longing, and suspense, it honors the reality of women’s lives.
Advance Praise for Laura McBride’s ’ROUND MIDNIGHT:
“Laura McBride reminds us of the invisible threads that bind us together as she weaves the stories of four very different women into a haunting tale of love, loss, and the power to endure. A compelling, transporting, and deeply wise novel. I was enthralled from the first page. Laura McBride is a stunning storyteller.”
—Patry Francis, author of The Orphans of Race Point
“In the opening pages of Laura McBride’s new novel, June Stein dives off the Haverstraw Bridge and straight into the reader’s imagination. I love how June, and the vivid, complicated women around her, often fail to act in their own best interests while they still win our affection and admiration. And I love how McBride brings to life the fast-changing city of Las Vegas through their intertwined stories. ’Round Midnight is a passionate, gripping and beautifully written novel.”
—Margot Livesey, author of Mercury
“I’m not one to pull out the term ‘Great American Novel,’ but Laura McBride’s sublime ’Round Midnight demands nothing less. Gorgeous, engrossing, moving, and at times wickedly funny, this brilliant novel pulled me in and didn’t let me go until the shattering final sentence. This is the novel you need to read right now.”
—Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year and A Fortunate Age
Laura McBride, 'ROUND MIDNIGHT