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.

*

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.