Title: Last Night In Montreal
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Publisher: Unbridled Books
Publication Date: Released In Paperback April 2010
Lilia Albert has been leaving people behind for her entire life. She spends her childhood and adolescence traveling constantly and changing identities. In adulthood, she finds it impossible to stop. Haunted by an inability to remember her early childhood, she moves restlessly from city to city, abandoning lovers along with way, possibly still followed by a private detective who has pursued her for years. Then her latest lover follows her from New York to Montreal, determined to learn her secrets and make sure she’s safe. Last Night in Montreal is a story of love, amnesia, compulsive travel, the depths and the limits of family bonds, and the nature of obsession.
In this extraordinary debut, Emily St. John Mandel casts a powerful spell that captures the reader in a gritty, youthful world—charged with an atmosphere of mystery, promise and foreboding—where small revelations continuously change our understanding of the truth and lead to desperate consequences. Mandel’s characters will resonate with you long after the final page is turned.
Last Night In Montreal is a hauntingly beautiful novel of how one abduction, done out of love, could damage so many lives. In a flawless flowing prose, Last Night In Montreal alternates between past and present and in a manner not at all confusing for the reader, seamlessly moving from one family to another. Emily St. John Mandel begins her novel with seven-year-old Lilia waking and walking downstairs toward her awaiting father and together they vanished into the night. The only witness was her stepbrother Simon. The story weaves in and out of Lilia’s life on the road with her dad, her relationship with Eli, to the day she vanishes out of Eli’s life and how unbeknownst to Lilia, she was a permanent part of Michaela’s life for eleven years, all without missing a beat. The morning Lilia walks out of Eli’s life he does not even realise she is gone. When he does, he becomes all consumed with finding her. Tormented, Eli receives a postcard from Montréal with a cryptic message from a person named Michaela. While Eli ponders what his next course should be he receives another letter, this one with a page from the Bible inside with a note from Lilia scrawled upon it and a return address to Michaela in Montréal. Eli decides he must head to Montréal to find the answers he is longing for. While Last Night In Montreal is an extremely complex novel, it is so masterfully written the reader is drawn directly into the story looking for the next piece to the puzzle that began with a father abducting his little girl. Rarely do I encounter a book so beautifully written with a complex storyline that is both devastatingly tragic and at the same time life affirming. I would recommend this novel to all readers and highly suggest this become everyone’s next book club pick.
Emily St. John Mandel was born on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada, in 1979. She studied dance at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and lived briefly in Montreal before relocating to New York. She lives in Brooklyn.
I received a complimentary copy of Last Night In Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel from Unbridled Books. Receiving a free copy in no way reflected my review of the aforementioned novels.