Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel

Anton Waker is on an island in Italy.  A year ago, he would never have thought this would be his life.  Back then he worked in an office and was about to be married.  He was the picture of respectability.

But that picture was marred.  Anton was having an affair with his secretary, Elena.  His job had disappeared from under him; one day he got to work and his staff was gone and he had been transferred to an office in the basement and given no work.  In fact, Anton's whole life had been a charade.  He had been raised by parents who made their living by selling stolen goods.  His cousin Aria had lured him into an illegal business of selling counterfeit social security cards and passports.

Anton tried to leave that life behind.  But Aria has forced him to do one last job; a job that has left him stranded on this island, and that has forced him to leave his entire life behind.  His wife is gone; his job is gone, his life as he's known it is gone.  Can Anton build another life; one that is built on honesty and that gives him the home and peace he has been searching for his entire life?

Emily St. John Mandel is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.  She has a knack of creating characters who live on the margin, who are searching for connection and meaning, and for making the reader care about them.  The writing is sparse and the reader sometimes feels adrift in a fog between them and the story.   But then a flash of light occurs and the connection is made, leaving the reader feeling more involved in the character's lives than they would have suspected.  The reader finishes the last page satisfied and content,  and already anxious for Mandel's next effort.  This book is highly recommended for all readers.

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