For a serious reader, there’s nothing more thrilling than finding a new author whose work you love. Sometimes you realize it on the first page. Maybe there’s a phrase that jumps up and makes you recognize that, yes, this book is going to be something special. Emily St. John Mandel is my favorite new author. I realized I was loving her debut novel Last Night in Montreal pretty early in, but it wasn’t until the start of the second part of the book that I got completely hooked. I found myself talking about the book all the time, and when I wasn’t talking about the book, I was sneaking off to read it.
This is a novel full of mysteries and dark secrets. It’s a story populated with complicated, wounded characters, each of them searching for something or someone or someplace. Mandel writes with confident, spare prose, and her descriptions of physical space — especially in the titular city — are visceral. I simply can’t recommend this book enough.
[The audio issues persist, though not quite as bad as last time. Still, I apologize if it sounds like Emily is talking into a tin can.]
to download the podcast from the Internet Archive. Click here to buy Last Night in Montreal. Click here to read Emily’s Book Notes entry at Largehearted Boy, where she discusses the music that inspired LNiM.