Mandel’s writing style completely enchanted me. Here is a taste:
Lilia: she had ink stains on her fingers, and the most beautiful eyes. She wore a silver chain necklace but wouldn’t say where it was from. She was obsessed by the topography of language: she followed the maps of alphabets over obscure terrains, parted the shifting gauze curtains between window, fenêtre, finestra, fenster and peered outward, wrote out long charts of words and brought home books in five languages. She maintained a secretive, passionate life of study. She was without precedent.* (p. 21)Part of what drew me to this book is that some of it is set in Montreal, my home for the last 20 years. However, the Montreal Mandel describes is a metaphorical city rather than a real one: a city of frozen dreary streets, unfriendly locals, underground malls and sleazy nightclubs. (It also seemed highly unlikely that a student like Eli would stay for weeks in a hotel as luxurious as the Queen Elizabeth.) Not only did I not recognize my home town in Mandel’s portrayal of Montreal, but this part of the story also dragged: like Eli, I grew a bit tired of waiting for something to happen.
Despite my grumblings about the Montreal sections of this book, Last Night in Montreal is an absorbing read. Mandel masterfully juggles all the strands of her story and I was impressed by how the pieces fell into place at the end. As long as you promise not to judge Montreal by this book, I recommend it!
Upcoming giveaway: I’m going to give away my gently read ARC, so check back later this week!
Read other reviews of this book on these blogs:
Amy Reads • Baby Got Books • Bookfoolery and Babble • Booking Mama • Booksie’s Blog • Care’s Online Book Club • caribousmom • drey’s library (review & guest post) • Educating Petunia • Feminist Review • In Spring It Is the Dawn • Musings of a Bookish Kitty • Outside of a Dog • Passion for the Page • Peeking Between the Pages • Reading on a Rainy Day • Reflections from the Hinterland • Savvy Verse & Wit • S. Krishna’s Books • The Critical Flame • The Word Hoarder • Violet Crush
You can also read guest posts by the author on these blogs:
Educating Petunia • Savvy Verse & Wit • Powell’s Books Blog
Interviews with the author are available here:
Boxing the Octopus • Words to Mouth
Thank you to Unbridled Books for sending me this book to review.
This is the seventh book I review for the New Authors Challenge.
This is also the third book I review for the LibraryThing Author Challenge.
*Note that this quote comes from an ARC and therefore may have been changed for final printing.