Publication Date: March 2015
Format: Paperback, 304 pgs
Emily St. John Mandel. Once again I found myself captivated and entranced by her writing and her intriguing story. I enjoyed Last Night in Montreal and I knew I wanted to read another book of hers so here it is.
How to even begin describing it? This book has so many issues - deceits, morality and even life. At one point it read like a crime fiction but it was too subtle for that. I finally decided it was a literary fiction with thriller as a sideline and it was a great one for that.
The story begins with Alexandra Broden, who's with the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service, in search of a man named Anton Waker. She believes he is involved in an illegal transaction which had led a girl dead. When she contacted his parents they didn't know anything about their son's whereabouts.
Anton Waker, on the other end, is trying to salvage his marriage and his consulting job. His company has a new big water project coming up and for security measures they have a security check on the staff involved and Anton found himself in exile thereafter. No one in the company wished to explain to him why he is moved to the mezzanine level with no one to work with or work for and on top of it, his secretary Elena is missing and his fiancée seems to have pre-wedding jitters for she has cancelled their wedding twice.
Moving on to Elena, it seems she is leading a double life. On surface she is struggling with her working life and her relationship with her boyfriend has become lukewarm but these are mundane as compared to what Alex Broden has wanted her to do - to gather as much information of her ex-boss, Anton, so that once there is enough evidence to prosecute him she would be a free woman, given her circumstances.
The Singer's Gun is a brilliant story that has many layers and most of all, it offers readers some food for thought such as loyalty and betrayal, and what one would do to sacrifice for love. While this story has a great plot I wanted to mention it was also quite a character-driven story. Anton and Elena seemed to have different goals but on a personal level they are quite similar in a sense that they both wanted nothing but simplicity and normalcy for their life. But of course life often surprises us and this is where the story took a twisty turn and evoked that melancholy, bittersweet feelings which had me thinking of the story all over again.