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Last Night in Montreal

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Last Night in Montreal Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"A young woman with a habit of running away runs away yet again in Mandel's competent if unremarkable debut. As Eli finishes another grim day of work on his thesis (its topic: dead and dying languages) in his Brooklyn apartment, he realizes his girlfriend, Lilia, never returned after going out for the newspaper that morning. About a month later, Eli gets a postcard from someone named Michaela in Montreal telling him that Lilia is there, so he heads north, leaving (thankfully) his insufferable friends behind to natter on about art without him. His quest is interspersed with flashbacks to Lilia's childhood: her father kidnaps her at age seven from her mother's house, and the two go on the lam. Back in present-day Montreal, Eli meets Michaela, who happens to be the daughter of the detective who years ago worked on Lilia's abduction case, and together they try to fill in the blanks of Lilia's past. While the plot is interesting enough, the prose often feels forced and the characters sometimes amount to accumulations of quirks, whimsies and neuroses. An intriguing idea, but the delivery isn't quite there. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Last Night in Montreal marks the debut of a lyrical voice, singing its heart out. Please sit up and take notice. It's a beautiful work." Darin Strauss

Review:

"[A] taut, gripping debut...[E]legantly compelling." Booklist

Review:

"The fast pacing and unusual characters make this a compelling first novel. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"Mandel chooses her words with careful love and arranges them to exquisite effect....[H]er lines follow each other with near breathless precision and echo delicately long after the final page has been turned." ForeWord magazine

Synopsis:

Lila Albert has been leaving people behind for her entire life. Then her latest lover follows her from New York to Montreal, determined to learn her secrets. "Last Night in Montreal" is a story of love, amnesia, the depths and limits of family bonds, and the nature of obsession.

About the Author

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Wendy Robards, June 1, 2009 (view all comments by Wendy Robards)
Lilia awakes one night when she is seven years old and finds her father waiting for her outside in the snow. She walks out of her home and into his arms. What follows is a life of constant travel - moving from place to place with the sensation of being hunted, changing identities, and an inability to create lasting relationships.When Lilia meets Eli, a young man studying dead and dying languages in New York City, she knows she will eventually leave him. But when she does just that, the act puts in motion a series of events which will not only change Lilia’s life, but the lives of those around her.

Last Night In Montreal is a novel which intersects the lives of four flawed characters: Lilia, scarred by events she cannot remember but from which she constantly flees; Eli, stuck in one place and unable to move forward until he becomes obsessed with Lilia; Christopher, the private investigator who gives up everything to find a missing child and uncover the mystery of her disappearance; and Michaela, Christopher’s daughter who is abandoned by her parents and haunted by a girl she only knows through her father’s notes. The mystery surrounding Lilia’s abduction serves as the focal point from which the other characters’ stories revolve. As they are all drawn into Lilia’s life, they are forced to come to terms with their own weaknesses, desires, and fears. Thematically, the story is one about loss, repressed memory, family secrets and identity.

Lilia is a complex character whose life is not her own. She has no recollection of her years before the abduction and seems unable to stop traveling - a compulsion which allows her to see the world and yet not be a part of it.

'She moved over the surface of life the way figure skaters move, fast and choreographed, but she never broke through the ice, she never pierced the surface and descended into those awful beautiful waters, she was never submerged and she never learned to swim in those currents, these current: all the shadows and light and splendorous horrors that make up the riptides of life on earth.' - from Last Night In Montreal, page 119 -

Last Night in Montreal is Emily St. John Mandel’s first novel, and it is a stunning debut. Told from multiple viewpoints and moving back and forth between the present and past, the book is compulsively readable. Mandel’s writing is flawless - poetic, compelling, and achingly beautiful. Perhaps the strongest aspect of Mandel’s prose is her ability to fully develop her characters - people who are adrift and searching and often in pain, but who attract the reader’s empathy and admiration despite their weaknesses.

Last Night In Montreal is one of those books which once started cannot be laid aside. Disturbing and dark at times, it is a novel which will haunt the reader long after it is completed.

Highly recommended.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781932961683
Author:
St John Mandel, Emily
Publisher:
Unbridled Books
Author:
Mandel, Emily St John
Author:
St. John Mandel, Emily
Subject:
Contemporary Women
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Montreal (quebec)
Subject:
Literature-Contemporary Women
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20090631
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
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Last Night in Montreal Used Hardcover
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Product details 256 pages Unbridled Books - English 9781932961683 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A young woman with a habit of running away runs away yet again in Mandel's competent if unremarkable debut. As Eli finishes another grim day of work on his thesis (its topic: dead and dying languages) in his Brooklyn apartment, he realizes his girlfriend, Lilia, never returned after going out for the newspaper that morning. About a month later, Eli gets a postcard from someone named Michaela in Montreal telling him that Lilia is there, so he heads north, leaving (thankfully) his insufferable friends behind to natter on about art without him. His quest is interspersed with flashbacks to Lilia's childhood: her father kidnaps her at age seven from her mother's house, and the two go on the lam. Back in present-day Montreal, Eli meets Michaela, who happens to be the daughter of the detective who years ago worked on Lilia's abduction case, and together they try to fill in the blanks of Lilia's past. While the plot is interesting enough, the prose often feels forced and the characters sometimes amount to accumulations of quirks, whimsies and neuroses. An intriguing idea, but the delivery isn't quite there. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Last Night in Montreal marks the debut of a lyrical voice, singing its heart out. Please sit up and take notice. It's a beautiful work."
"Review" by , "[A] taut, gripping debut...[E]legantly compelling."
"Review" by , "The fast pacing and unusual characters make this a compelling first novel. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "Mandel chooses her words with careful love and arranges them to exquisite effect....[H]er lines follow each other with near breathless precision and echo delicately long after the final page has been turned."
"Synopsis" by , Lila Albert has been leaving people behind for her entire life. Then her latest lover follows her from New York to Montreal, determined to learn her secrets. "Last Night in Montreal" is a story of love, amnesia, the depths and limits of family bonds, and the nature of obsession.
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