Upcoming: THE GLASS HOTEL by Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf)

MandelESJ-GlassHotel

Like many readers, I absolutely loved Emily St. John Mandel‘s Station Eleven. I was, therefore, extremely happy to learn about the author’s follow-up, The Ghost Hotel. We still have quite some time to wait before it arrives in bookstores (curses!), but I wanted to give it a quick shout-out here, just in case you’d missed it. Here’s the synopsis:

From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it.

Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass-and-cedar palace on an island in British Columbia. Jonathan Alkaitis works in finance and owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, Vincent’s half brother, Paul, scrawls a note on a windowed wall of the hotel: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company named Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship.

Weaving together the lives of these characters, The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan, and the wilderness of northern Vancouver Island, painting a breathtaking picture of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts.

The Glass Hotel is due to be published by Knopf in North America (March 24th, 2020) and Picador in the UK (April 30th, 2020).

Also on CR: Review of Station Eleven and Last Night in Montreal

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review: LAST NIGHT IN MONTREAL by Emily St. John Mandel (Picador)

MandelESJ-LastNightInMontrealUK2015An interesting debut

Lilia has been leaving people behind her entire life. Haunted by her inability to remember her early childhood, and by a mysterious shadow that seems to dog her wherever she goes, Lilia moves restlessly from city to city, abandoning lovers and friends along the way. But then she meets Eli, and he’s not ready to let her go, not without a fight.

Gorgeously written, charged with tension and foreboding, Emily St. John Mandel’s Last Night in Montreal is the story of a life spent at the centre of a criminal investigation. It is a novel about identity, love and amnesia, the depths and limits of family bonds and – ultimately – about the nature of obsession.

Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven is easily one of my favourite books from last year (as it was for a great many others, it seems). Mandel’s prose is superb, and I really enjoyed her take on a post-apocalyptic landscape. Naturally, after the considerable success of that novel, Mandel’s UK publisher (Picador) has re-issued her first three novels with new covers to match the aesthetic of Station Eleven. They are, however, very different novels in terms of topic and genre. Naturally, I bought them immediately. Last Night in Montreal is the author’s debut, and I read it without even reading the synopsis (it was nice, therefore, to see that what I got out of the book aligns with that final paragraph, above). I plan to read the other two very soon. This novel is very good, and shows the beginnings of the skill and style that would be fully realized in Station Eleven. Continue reading

Upcoming: New UK Editions of Emily St. John Mandel’s Back-Catalogue

Following in the wake of the considerable, absolutely-deserved international success of Station Eleven [review], Picador Books are re-issuing and re-packaging Emily St. John Mandel‘s previous three novels — The Singer’s Gun, Last Night in Montreal, and The Lola Quartet. All three will be published on January 15th, 2015. As someone who enjoyed Station Eleven immensely, I’m looking forward to trying these. They look quite different to her latest novel…

 

MandelESJ-LastNightInMontrealUK2015LAST NIGHT IN MONTREAL (2009)

Lilia has been leaving people behind her entire life. Haunted by her inability to remember her early childhood, and by a mysterious shadow that seems to dog her wherever she goes, Lilia moves restlessly from city to city, abandoning lovers and friends along the way. But then she meets Eli, and he’s not ready to let her go, not without a fight.

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MandelESJ-SingersGunUK2015THE SINGER’S GUN (2009)

After shaking off an increasingly dangerous venture with his cousin, Anton Waker has spent years constructing an honest life for himself. But then a routine security check brings his past crashing back towards him. His marriage and career in ruins, Anton finds himself in Italy with one last job from his cousin. But there is someone on his tail and they are getting closer…

MandelESJ-LolaQuartetUK2015THE LOLA QUARTET (2012)

The Lola Quartet: Jack, Daniel, Sasha and Gavin, four talented musicians at the end of their high school careers. On the dream-like night of their last concert, Gavin’s girlfriend Anna disappears. Ten years later Gavin sees a photograph of a little girl who looks uncannily like him and who shares Anna’s surname, and suddenly he finds himself catapulted back to a secretive past he didn’t realise he’d left behind. 

But that photo has set off a cascade of dangerous consequences and, as one by one the members of the Lola Quartet are reunited, a terrifying story emerges: of innocent mistakes, of secrecy and of a life lived on the run.

Review: STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf/Picador)

MandelESJ-StationElevenUSA superb, must-read post-apocalyptic

One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from Star Trek: “Because survival is insufficient.” But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.

I was rather nervous, coming into this novel. It’s received so much attention and advance praise, that I feared inevitable disappointment. Instead, I find the hype entirely justified. This is an absolutely marvellous novel: beautiful prose, excellent pacing, an engaging plot, and well-rounded, sympathetic characters. A must-read of the year. If you only read one dystopian/post-apocalypse novel, make it Station Eleven. Continue reading