Last Night in Montreal, Emily St. John Mandel’s debut novel, is a beautifully written story that takes a bit of time to get into. One of the main characters is a man who thinks he wants to be an academic and spends his time pretending to write a thesis about untranslatable words in lost languages. He meets a woman who was kidnapped at age seven but managed to teach herself 5 languages in the back of a car while constantly running from the people trying to find her and bring her home.
The story shifts across time and space, leaving the reader off balance as we move backwards and forwards in time and jump from Montreal to New Mexico, to New York City and back. The characters never really get past being too impossibly bright and literary to be believable. Despite not caring much for the characters themselves I love the author’s writing (Sea of Tranquility and Station Eleven are both favorites of mine) and enjoyed the book as an opportunity to reflect on loss, obsession, restlessness, and peace.