The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel

The Singer’s Gun by Hilary St. John Mandel

Unbridled Books, 2010

Borrowed from the library.

I looked forward to this one, both because I had heard great things about St. John Mandel and because it is from Unbridled Books, a small press I admire.

The writing is clean and crisp, the story timely,  but somehow the book never really grabbed me.  It was like looking at something beautiful and realizing that the beauty is fading away right before my eyes.  I never felt much for the characters, even though they are well thought out.

Anton Waker grew up an a family of thieves and, encouraged by his cousin Aria he begins a life of crime at a young age.  When he decides to get out, go straight, have what he considers a real life, he finds it much more difficult than he expected.

The story is very well constructed, told from different points of view and I think St. John Mandel is a fine writer, but there is a chilliness, a edge to this book that just pushed me away, like the same poles of two magnets repelling each other.  Maybe it’s the characters, they seem detached and hollow.  Maybe it’s the times we live in.  Maybe it’s just me, the book left me feeling sad.  I will read The Last Night In Montreal because I want to see if it has a different feel, and I do like this author’s way with words.

Other reviews:


Musings of a Bookish Kitty

S. Krishna’s Books

She is too fond of books

You Gotta Read This


Filed under CanadianBookChallenge4, Fiction, New Authors 2010, Review

4 responses to “The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel

  1. I am so sorry you didn’t love this one! It definitely was not one that melted your heart. It was very subtle, and revealed itself so very slowly. I read it in one sitting, not really sure where it was going, and only after I’d finished, realized it had snuck into my head and set up camp. I am hoping to read her other novel as well.

    • Sandy – I relly wanted to like The Singer’s Gun but sometimes books just don’t click. I will read the other one at some point.

  2. THE SINGER”S GUN has a much different feel from LAST NIGHT IN MONTREAL, although I admire the writing in each. I wrote that Anton and Elena seem ‘alone, together’ in this deliberately-paced mystery.

    Thanks for linking to my review :)

    I think you’ll attach to the characters in LAST NIGHT, it’s hard to resist seeing Lilia’s childhood and the life she has led “not wanting to be found”

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