Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Monday, July 27, 2009

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

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

I just finished Last Night in Montreal... I’m at a loss for words.
It was hypnotizing....
It was like a jigsaw puzzle of people and places... and it was wonderful!

From the Inside Cover...

Lilia Albert has been leaving people behind 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 the 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.

In the opening line of the book we read “ No one stays forever” and with this we begin unraveling the mystery behind Lilia... We first meet Lilia casually walking out the door of her apartment going for the paper never to return. She leaves behind Eli, who starts to notice the time and wonders where she is... then desperately realizes that she’s gone... her only mark on the apartment they share, a polaroid photograph of her when she was twelve, neatly removed from above the headboard.... From here we are thrown into Lilia’s life before Eli, as she was growing up, constantly on the move with her father, changing names & identities, moving from state to state on an adventure of a lifetime, starting with a early morning ‘abduction’ in a snowy driveway, from a home she had known for 7 years into the arms of a recognizable stranger, bandages on her arms...

In a refreshing style, Emily St. John Mandel moves from present to past (and back again) from chapter to chapter with incredible continuity. Writing the story moving back and forth in time kept my attention. And made it so interesting! How parts of stories lead into other stories was amazing sometimes. The bits of information that were dropped like crumbs thru the story made me keep turning those pages to learn more. There are really 3 stories here, the story of young Lilia’s abduction and wanderings, the story of the detective who sacrifices his life looking for her, and the story of how everything in the past connects to the present day and how it all comes together in the end. The story rushes forward until the present and the past collide in Montreal....

With rich characters that are so human, so believable, so sad, I was drawn into their story. Their histories well developed. The writing done well. I loved Lilia and her cryptic life, but I think Michaela was my favorite character. She's the daughter of the detective searching for Lilia. As he searches for Lilia, Michaela becomes a lost soul and an integral part of Lilia's story in the end...

A story of love, loss, sacrifice and obsession. The story is moving. I recommend you pick it up and read it! You will enjoy it! And Last Night in Montreal is Emily St. John Mandel’s debut in the world of publishing! I can’t wait to see what other words she’ll be putting down on the page in the future!

I had heard so much buzz about this book, I am glad that I finally was able to read it! A Big Thank You to Caitlin of Unbridled Books for sending me a copy!


Emily St. John Mandel said...


Thank you so much for your wonderful review! I'm glad you enjoyed Last Night in Montreal, and I truly appreciate you taking the time to review it.

Best regards,

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Emily!
Thank you so much for stopping by! Last Night in Montreal was truly a wonderful read, so unique in the way it was written and I can't wait for more!!

Take care,

Cathy said...

Wow, sounds like a great read. Thanks for the review!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Cathy!
Thanks for stopping by! Yes, it was a really good read! If you get a chance to read this, don't hesitate!

bermudaonion said...

This book sounds wonderful! I'm very impressed that the author left you a comment, too!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi bermudaonion!
I always think it's so much fun when the author stops by too! And speaking of stopping by.... I enjoyed visiting YOUR blog!

Take care,

Libby said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the book! Suzanne, it's Libby from posted a note earlier on your Shelfari page. Great blog! Please spread the word about the new online book club at We are voting now and "Last Night in Montreal" is leading by a substantial margin!

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