Daily Archives: July 16, 2009

Review: Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

Last Night in MontrealMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a beautiful book that pulled me into the lives of the characters.

From the Unbridled Books web page:

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.

I was fascinated by Lilia’s childhood on the run, in seeing the effect on her as an adult, and puzzling the reasons behind what had happened to her.

I was hooked on this book when Eli explained his interest in dead and dying languages. Eli’s character was lost– not sure where he was going with his own life. When Lilia steps into his life, then back out again, he wants to help her, and to make sure she is OK. He pursues her for that reason, but this may be the way to finding his own path.

Michaela was even more interesting than the two main characters. Her father had left her alone as a teenager (her mother left earlier) in order to pursue Lilia and the father that abducted her. Michaela forges a link between herself and the person she holds responsible for stealing her father away– Lilia.

The complex relationships in the book are well portrayed.

I read this book for the Twitter Book Club. The last time I tried to particpate in a Twitter Book Club discussion (two months ago with Sag Harbor), Twitter didn’t cooperate, but this time everything went smoothly. There were interesting insights on the book. I hadn’t really thought about the writing– I was just happy it didn’t get in my way– but others pointed out that this was the result of beautifully crafted minimalist prose. I enjoyed having the author’s view of the characters and events of the book.


Posted by on July 16, 2009 in Book Club, books, reviews, Twitter


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