Review: Last Night in Montreal

Last Night in Montreal is the September book selection for the Omaha Bookworm’s. A special thanks to Lisa for coordinating the book selection and author interview! Lisa is better known to some as Lit & Life.

Emily St. John Mandel was born on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada, in 1979. She studied dance at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and lived briefly in Montreal before relocating to New York. She lives in Brooklyn. (source: author website)

Synopsis: The book opens with Lilia and her boyfriend current day, Lilia leaves the apartment early in the morning and never returns. This is the story of a woman living life on the run, she knows no other way to live.

Quick Take: I will keep this brief today since I will post a detailed recap of our book discussion next week… it's a quick read, well crafted and the author will keep you engaged.  I was curious to see how the book would end. I’m looking forward to discussing the book next week.

Links of interest:- There is a great interview with the author at Author exposure
- Be sure to click over to I’m Booking it for another review. Laura gave the book 4 of 5 stars

Type: Fiction, 247 pages, Hardcover

Author Q&A:
Tell us a little about yourself: I'm thirty, and I live in Brooklyn with my husband and two cats. I grew up on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada, and lived in Toronto and Montreal before I came to New York.

Do you write daily? I don't, although I probably should. I work as an office administrator three days a week, and once I get home from work and cook dinner I'm usually too tired to write, although that's sometimes a good time of day for revisions. However, I'm extremely fortunate in that my job's only part-time, so I can write on my days off.

What was it like getting your first novel published? It was a long process, with a lot of luck involved. When I thought I had a final draft of my novel (which seems funny in retrospect, since it's gone through so many revisions since then), I found a website that had a long list of agents, and just started working my way down the list; I sent a query letter and the first three chapters out to four or five agents at a time, and the thirteenth or fourteenth agent I queried took me on.

Nearly two years later, I was finishing up a fairly tedious afternoon at work; my task for the day was to scan hundreds of pages of legal documents, and I'd taken my cell phone into the photocopy room just to keep track of time. Five minutes before I was scheduled to leave for the day, my cell phone rang. It was my agent, and she'd sold my novel. It was possibly the most exciting phone call I've ever received in my life, and the publication process that followed has been a great experience for me; I really like my publishing house, and I've met some truly great people over these past few months.

What do you think of the electronic book (kindles and such)? I prefer paper books, but can definitely understand the appeal of ebooks. I think they're a great thing for booksellers and reviewers, who are typically swamped with piles of advance review copies that need to be read. That said, I'm not so into the Kindle -- in my understanding, it's proprietary to Amazon, and personally I prefer to support independent bookstores whenever possible. If I were to get an e-reader, I'd probably get a Sony Reader so that I could buy ebooks from places other than Amazon.

What is one tip that you can share with aspiring writers? Don't assume that the publishing world is closed to you. I come across a lot of writers online who seem to think that you can only get published if you have some sort of inside connection to the publishing industry, and that therefore the only way to get your work into print is to self-publish. This just isn't true; there's definitely some luck involved in getting a book published, but there are always people in publishing whose job it is to find good new work. You just have to keep writing and getting better at what you do, and keep sending your work out.

What are you reading now? I'm reading Wake Up, Sir! by Jonathan Ames. I like it.

Lastly, share one or two of your all time favorite novels read, excluding classics: I just read Lowboy by John Wray, and I thought it was incredible. My all-time favourite novel is probably Hopscotch, by Julio Cortazar.

Just for fun:
Favorite Season: Fall.
Morning or night: Night.
Favorite ice cream flavor: Mint chocolate chip.
If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go: I'd really like to go to Greece someday.