Last Night in Montreal
Posted by: Gary Niebuhr
One of the questions that I am asked often is whether or not there are quality crime novels that do not have a murder. The pat answer for this is Dorothy L. Sayers did a pretty good job with Gaudy Night.
Now I can add one more to the list. It is Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel. Misha Stone discussed this novel previously here on Book Group Buzz, and everyone’s reading advice columnist, Nancy Pearl, led Misha to it.
Because I am always living in the past when it comes to reading, it takes me awhile to discover the new discoveries. Speaking of living in the past, I got nothing on the characters in this book. The crime central to this story is a child abduction that sets a father and a daughter on a nine year journey avoiding anything, staying no more than a day or two in any town in which they find themselves. The contemporary story is about a man named Eli who is living in New York with his lover Lilia when one day she walks out the door and never returns. The connection between these two stories is how the book creates its magic.
It bends time, reveals character and wallows in guilt, neurosis and angst. While novels of character can sometimes lack a narrative drive, the skill of St. John Mandel’s storytelling ability and artistic talent keeps this one moving forward.
I would like to list this one on my crime fiction book discussion’s list. It is just the type of book that they would enjoy. I agree with Nancy and Misha—read this one.