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Mandel (Last Night in Montreal) attempts a globe-spanning crime novel, but the clunky, lukewarm result will please neither thriller aficionados nor more literary-minded readers. Anton Waker, a Manhattan water systems consultant, finds that his world is slowly imploding as his shadowy past as a document forger comes back to haunt him. Compounding his troubles is his alluring and Machiavellian cousin, Aria Waker, who is conspiring to reel him back in for one last big score. All the while, hard-nosed State Department G-woman Alexandra Broden is closing in on the forgery ring. Along the way—the narrative travels from New York to Canada to Italy—Anton must also come to grips with his crumbling marriage and an office romance. While Mandel's prose is brisk, the narrative reads like a slightly dressed-up B-movie screenplay—flat, stocked with one-dimensional characters, and relying on awkward flashbacks to explain away character motivations. But the biggest problem is the narrative's blandness: the sex isn't sexy and the violence isn't especially violent.(May)
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ISBN-10:  1936071649
ISBN-13:  978-1936071647
Author:  Emily St. John Mandel
Publisher:  Unbridled Books
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review by . May 03, 2010
Mandel salts her unusual novel with equally odd characters, a man who sells passports and social security cards to immigrants, a family that lives on the shady side of the law and all that entails, a Canadian willing to take the risk of a new life in America and a self-contained, unpredictable musician who balks, but finally commits to marriage and a honeymoon on Ischia. When Anton Maker and his bride, Sophie, arrive on the island, it should be the beginning of the next chapter of their lives. But …
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