Faculty News

Alexander Chee's New Novel Triumphs

Alexander Chee's latest novel, The Queen of the Night, is being greeted with enthusiastic praise on the heels of its February 2 release. Chee is a faculty member in the MFA in Writing program at Bennington College.

The Queen of the Night is the sprawling tale of a diva, from her modest origins in the US to the glamour of 19th century Paris -- touching on some of the most significant events of the period, including the fall of the Second Empire and the rise of the Paris Commune, and the historical figures, real and imagined, she meets along the way. Giuseppe Verdi, Ivan Turgenev, George Sand, Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie, the courtesan Cora Pearl, and the Comtesse de Castiglione, Imperial mistress and likely spy, all make appearances.

The Queen of the Night, coming fifteen years after his Whiting Award-winning debut, Edinburgh, is hailed by Vogue as a "tautly plotted historical doorstopper of a book that, even at nearly 600 pages, somehow rarely falters or drags." NPR praises it as "sprawling, soaring, bawdy and plotted like a fine embroidery." SlateThe Millionsand The Atlantic also covered the book's release.