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About the blogger:
Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)





Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



St. John Mandel, Emily: Last Night in Montreal

  Amazon  

4.5 stars

"No one stays forever," reads the first line of Emily St. John Mandel's debut novel Last Night in Montreal. Certainly Mandel's main character can't stay in one place for longer than a few months, if that. Abducted when she was seven by her non-custodial parent, Lilia spent her childhood in a car--nine years of motels and chain restaurants and public parks, dyed hair and name changes, her picture and her grieving mother on their room's flickering TV screen before they fled again in the middle of the night. The book slowly circles around Lilia's story until we get the whole of it, skipping around in time and among perspectives: Lilia's own, when she was younger; and later we see her mostly through other's eyes--the private detective who became obsessed with her case, his daughter, and Eli, the latest of her abandoned lovers.

Last Night in Montreal is a powerful read--an unusual story, very well told. It's also dispiriting, not only because of the facts of Lilia's life, but because the principals of Mandel's story are all rootless and unsatisfied. But it's a compulsively readable book. I downed it in two days and might have been quicker if the obligations of my own rooted existence hadn't interfered. In the end I did have problems with the story's credibility. Mostly I find it hard to believe that the private detective on Lilia's tail would abandon his life in order to track her down, that he would continue tracking her after he found her. But the book raises any number of interesting questions, among them the reasons for this obsession of his, which leads him to treat his own daughter more horribly than the kidnapper he's chasing treats Lilia. I also am not sure that it made sense to make the private detective and his wife former circus people, but perhaps I'm missing some thematic relevance here. That the book raises so many questions would make it a good selection for book discussion groups. And maybe for Oprah as well, if she's reading this. (And I know you are, Oprah. I know you are.)

Comments

1.

Thank you very much for your review. I appreciate you taking the time to read my book, and I especially appreciate all your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

2.

Thanks for your note and for stopping by, Emily!

3.

I'll keep my eye open for this one, it sounds like I'd enjoy it too. Hey! I just noticed I can buy it through your link right here! I wonder if it'll connect me to Amazon dot CA...?

4.

Nope! I'm afraid that will go to Amazon.com. Sorry about that :) The book seems to be all the rage these days in online circles. Looks like there's some Twitter reading group taking it up. Good job to the author, and also to the publisher (@unbridled) for getting the word out about it.

5.

Well, what I've done is put it on my 'wish list' and one of these days - soon - I'll go and copy down about five titles I want and then come back here to make sure I enter Amazon via your link to place my order. I'm so cross with myself because I forgot the last time. (Sorry, Debra! I've really been out of it the last little while.)

6.

Very nice of you to think of it, Susan! Any TwitterLit link would do too.

But you're cross with yourself over this?! I'd say you've had more important stuff to worry about!

7.

Another very interesting book - I do like the sound of this - the way it's structured. You seem to have hit a little gold vein in your reading recently, Debra!

8.

I have read some good ones lately. And my reading is (finally) picking up after a slow first half of the year. I've still got a backlog of six reviews to post, too.

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