Monday, May 25, 2009

Last Night in Montreal-Emily St. John Mandel

Last Night in Montreal
Emily St. John Mandel
Unbridled, Jun 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9781932961683

In Brooklyn, Eli Jacobs works on his thesis on dead and dying languages. Bored but disciplined, he fails to notice until he stops late in the day that his girlfriend dishwasher Lilia Albert, who went out for a paper never came home. Worried about Lila, he has no idea what happened.

One month later, a stranger Michaela sends Eli a postcard from Montreal telling him that Lilia is living there. Relieved she is okay and leaving his intellectual snobbish friends back in the city, he heads to Canada to see Lila. Eli learns from Michaela that when Lila was seven years old her absentee affluent American father whom she never met before kidnapped her from her home with her Canadian mom and brother. Michaela is the daughter of private investigator Christopher Graydon who worked and obsessed over the abduction case; she resents Lila’s intrusion through her dad’s fixation in her family for almost two decades.

LAST NIGHT IN MONTREAL is an interesting character driven tale starring three wounded souls. Lilia has all sorts of relationships issues, which has led to her running away even before she and Eli moved in together. Eli remains hurt due to Lilia’s abrupt abandonment. Finally Michaela feels her father abandoned her when he lived for the missing child case. Although at times the story line feels forced to bring out the neurosis, the cast makes for a profound look at the downside of relationships when forlorn adults feel loved ones deserted them.

Harriet Klausner

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