Reviewed by Lauren K.

I read Last Night in Montreal in one day. Cover to cover; I could not put it down. This first novel by Emily St. John Mandel was captivating, dark, yet enlightening, and magical. Mandel’s characters prove that everyone has a story and some of those stories are more complex, deep, and entwined into the lives of others than the surface exposes. Last Night in Montreal is a page turner, one where the stories and the characters stay with the reader long after the book is finished.

Eli, a struggling academic in Brooklyn is amazed when he is walked out on by his mysterious, intelligent, and often silent girlfriend Lilia. Lilia is an enigma. There is certainly no defining her or her story. She is curious in her speech and behaviors and vague about her past.

In spite of her elusiveness, Lilia and her story have made a greater impact on more people’s lives then she ever knew or paid attention to. She speaks little of her past to Eli, and it is not until she leaves under the pretense of picking up the morning paper that her story becomes exposed. The past spills out into the text once Eli receives some mysterious mail from Montreal from a person that claims they have answers about Lilia’s whereabouts. What Eli and his source discover about Lilia and themselves there is truly extraordinary.

[amazonify]1936071606[/amazonify]For those that find themselves full of wanderlust or held down by routine, Last Night in Montreal shows that anything is possible by breaking free of convention. While Lilia’s upbringing and ultimate existence is far from conventional, the values that she and the people that care about her embody are universally recognized. For anyone that has ever felt the need to escape, the benefits of freedom are clear from Lilia’s story, yet the fact that we all need something to ground us cannot be ignored.

The most fascinating part about the text is how everyone makes an impact on the people they come in contact with over time, some good, some heart wrenching, yet there is no denying the power some people hold over other’s lives without trying. This book by Emily St. John Mandel is truly a must read for anyone who loves a great, relatable, and intertwining story.

In addition to working on her own personal writing, editing Messy Magazine, and writing for multiple sites, Lauren is also currently pursuing her MFA in English. More of her work can be found at : messymagazine.org and goldiesays.wordpress.com.

This book was provided free of any obligation by Unbridled Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.