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