Wordy Wednesday: Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

I recently joined a book club, and I love love love it.  I’m used to just telling Goodreads my thoughts on literature, so it’s nice to have a real conversation with a human being about the book I just finished.  Plus, the club is run through a book store, not a group of friends, and everyone who shows up has actually read the book.  It’s not just an excuse to get together and have mimosas, which I think is the fate of 85% of book clubs, unfortunately.

This month, we read Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel.  I kind of hated it for the first 50 pages– mostly because it was following a do-nothing twenty-something living in Williamsburg, who was having a crisis over the fact that he couldn’t finish his thesis on dead languages and felt no fulfillment working part-time in a pretentious art gallery.  Then, he meets this girl, and she’s so “different from everyone else”–she’s a dishwasher, but she knows 4.5 languages, reads voraciously, and loves photography.

“He began to feed her pomegranate beads, two or three at a time, and she stopped weeping long before her lips were stained red”: when I read that line on page 36, I almost projectile vomited.  I am not a fan of books about relationships, so I was feeling unenthused about finishing the story.

However, it got so much better.  The book is not about romance–it’s more of a mystery based around child abduction and family drama.  The story unfolds effortlessly, and I couldn’t put it down (I literally read the whole thing in one sitting, which is impressive, considering that I was very sleepy when I read it).  There are moments when the language is a little overworked (like in the example above), but in general, the writing style is quite pretty.  The characters are unbearable quirky at times, but at the same time, they engaged my interest.  The ending was a little rushed, but overall, I liked the book.  I think Emily St. John Mandel has creative ideas, and I am interested to see what she does in the future.


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