This review is part of the Unbridled Books Spotlight Series. To read other wonderful book reviews, spot by the Spotlight Series website.
Title: The Singer's Gun
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Publisher: Unbridled Books
Publication Date: May 2010
Hardcover: 304 pages
From the Publisher:
Everyone Anton Waker grew up with is corrupt. His parents deal in stolen goods and his first career is a partnership venture with his cousin Aria selling forged passports and social security cards to illegal aliens. Anton longs for a less questionable way of living in the world and by his late twenties has reinvented himself as a successful middle manager. Then a routine security check suggests that things are not quite what they appear. And Aria begins blackmailing him to do one last job for her. But the seemingly simple job proves to have profound and unexpected repercussions.
As Anton’s carefully constructed life begins to disintegrate around him, he’s forced to choose between loyalty to his family and his desires for a different kind of life. When everyone is willing to use someone else to escape the past, it is up to Anton, on the island of Ischia, to face the ghosts that travel close behind him.
Emily St. John Mandel follows up her electric debut with a spellbinding novel of international crime, false identities, the depths and limits of family ties, and the often confusing bonds of love. Taut with suspense, beautifully imagined, full of unexpected corners, desperate choices, betrayals and halftruths with deadly consequences, The Singer’s Gun explores the dangerous territory between one’s moral compass and the heart’s desire.
Upon completion of Emily St. John Mandel's first novel, Last Night In Montreal, I began reading her second novel, The Singer's Gun. It was with trepidation that I began the next novel. How could it possibly compare to her first and yet maybe it would be as well written, possibly more so, I had to know. The Singer's Gun was all I was hoping it would be and more. Often I read passages to my husband simply so I would have someone to discuss the novel with. The Singer's Gun is written in a heartbreakingly beautiful prose with a heavy dose of extremely well timed and quite clever wit. Told in both past and present, weaving together the lives of an array of characters, The Singer's Gun becomes real in the reader's mind. Whether in Brooklyn or the Island of Ischia, the reader is transported there through the lyrical, descriptive prose and held there until Emily St. John Mandel decides to move on to another locale or time. An extremely moving novel that delves into the grey areas that makes up every day life. Through the expertly drafted prose, each character springs to life, from each member of the Walker family, to the mysterious Elena and the ever-persistent Alexandra Broden. For fear of giving any of the plot away, I will say that each character must look into the grey areas of life, to determine what is good, what is worth fighting for and to know when to stop. The Singer's Gun contains an expertly crafted plot with several surprise twists that will not only keep the reader engaged, but will make the reader crave discussing the issues. I truly cannot praise this novel enough and my only regret is that I had not read this novel with a colleague so I could discuss the key issues and all those delicately woven grey areas.
About the Author:
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.
I received a complimentary copy of The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel from Unbridled Books. Receiving a free copy in no way reflected my review of the aforementioned novels.