The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

Title: The Queen of the Night

Author: Alexander Chee

Context: The Queen of the Night is a historical fiction novel set in France in the 1800s. The story of an orphan, Lilliet Berne is truly mesmerizing. While presenting the cast of characters, the author gets closer to the truth behind the mysterious opera and her role of securing or destroying her with the revealed secret.

Synopsis: As an orphan, Lilliet left the frontiers of America for Europe and was cast into the terror and glamour of Second Empire France. With all possible recognition Lilliet gains, she very soon became the Paris Opera sensation a legendary soprano. She takes a chance at immorality, as an actual role.

When the role is offered to her, she comes to know that the text of the Opera is based on her most private and confidential secret. Only four other people could have betrayed her and are aware about this secret. Lilliet has been betrayed by someone but who is it?

The author, Alexander Chee, with fantastic language, epic sweep and haunting details, very cunningly transforms Lilliet from a circus or hippodrome rider to a courtesan to a historical soprano, from the maid of an empress to a debut singer, tracking back the track that led to her role that could retain her stature or tear her down with the revealed hidden piece of her past.

Out of the four, one loves her, one is dead and one wants to possess her. She hopes that the fourth one never remembers her at all. Lilliet in the effort of finding clues, mines her memories and recalls her past life as an orphan.

Other works by the Author:


2001 – Edinburgh

2018 – How to Write an Autobiographical Novel


1990 –Memorials – Literature of Tomorrow

1996 – Boys Like Us: Gay Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories

1999 – His (3): Brilliant New Fiction by Gay Writers

2004 – The “m” Word: Writers on Same-Sex Marriage

2006 – From Boys to Men: Gay Men Write About Growing Up

Essays and Stories

2009 – Portrait of My Father

2012 – Go Away

2014 – Mr. and Mrs.B

2015 – Girl

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