The Singer's Gun

The Singer's Gun

by Emily St. John Mandel
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The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781936071647
Publisher: Unbridled Books
Publication date: 04/06/2009
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Emily St. John Mandel was born in British Columbia, Canada. Her most recent novel, Station Eleven, was a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award and a New York Times bestseller. Her previous novels were Last Night in MontrealThe Singer’s Gun, and The Lola Quartet. She is a staff writer for The Millions, and her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Best American Mystery Stories 2013and Venice Noir. She lives in New York City with her husband.

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Singer's Gun 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Manhattan Anton Waker knows he has come a long way from his days as a forger of documents although to do so he must distance himself from his family who deal in illegal activities. He is a water systems consultant in demand, has a pretty wife and an office romance on the side. However, his past that he prefers to pretend never happened resurfaces when a routine background check proves his Harvard diploma hanging on his office wall is forged. Adding to his trepidation that life as he knows it and enjoys is over is his cousin, Aria Waker, who sells forged passports and social security cards to illegals. She demands Anton use his excellent forgery skill in what should prove a quite lucrative venture. However, a fourth woman enters his life and frightens him more than his relatives. State Department Agent Alexandra Broden is investigating a forgery ring in which she is almost ready to make arrests starting with the extended Waker brood but has not figured out Anton's role nor that of his secretary Elena with her Arctic secrets. This is an interesting crime caper that takes the audience to Brooklyn, Arctic Canada and Italy as an obsessed Fed goes after a family criminal ring. Overall the this is an entertaining cross Atlantic thriller.line is fast-paced and contains an intriguing cast. However, too many flashbacks that explain what makes the key players (especially Anton, Broden and Elena) tick detracts from the pacing as it feels disruptive. Still this is an entertaining cross Atlantic thriller. Harriet Klausner
sandiek More than 1 year ago
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.
Swinburne More than 1 year ago
The Singer's Gun is one of those rare hybrids: a page-turner that happens to be written in glorious prose. Whether you read Dashiell Hammett or Lawrence Durrell (I read both), you're going to be very happy you discovered this. Even though the book is structured as a thriller - somewhere between classic noir and the exotic travel/murder tale - Mandel is first and foremost a poetic stylist. I managed to get an advance copy through a friend; she's in the publishing industry, and we were both knocked flat by Mandel's first novel, Last Night in Montreal. And she agrees with me: if anything, Mandel's getting even better. HIGHLY recommended.
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ChelseaW More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Mandel's first book, reviewed here, and her second book provides another great read. Anton Waker is at a crossroads in his life. Until recently, his existence was largely based on participating in the shady dealings of the family business. Now he wants to clean up his morals and get out, but not before his cousin Aria demands he run one last job for her. Torn between thoughts of his affair with his co-worker and his indifferent bride to be, Anton agrees and heads towards events that are ultimately inevitable. THE SINGER'S GUN is a worthy sophomore novel that reads true enough to be ripped from today's headlines. Emily St. John Mandel has a liquid style of writing where she can tell multiple story lines simultaneously and switch tenses between present and past, all the while keeping the pacing flowing smoothly. The way she unfolds Anton's story through the chapters captured my attention and held it rapt until I finished. Mandel understands that people are never one-dimensional, and so she writes her characters deeply layered. It will be interesting to watch her grow as an author in her future books.
keif More than 1 year ago
To some degree or another, we all live in a caste society. The Singer's Gun offers us an antidote: If you cleave with all your might to your own deepest nature, the rewards will be -- goddamned Mediterranean in nature. This is not your soulless Horatio Alger dogged overcoming-of-obstacles; it is the transformative oomph of the personal lodestone. When coupled with shady imports, felonious forgery a skewering look at illegal immigration -- and of course Emily St. John Mandel's sly prose -- The Singer's Gun becomes a passport out of -- well, whatever the reader happens to be mired in at the moment of that reading. And a passport -- as we learn in all of Mandel's work -- is a *very* valuable thing.