• The Fiction Fox

Review: The Singer's Gun - Emily St. John Mandel


Genre: Literary Fiction

Published: Picador Press, April 2015, originally published May 2010

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars


"Nothing is over yet, she told herself. The cat's still inside."


I’m going to keep this review fairly short, as I’ve already spread my love for Emily St. John Mandel so many times before on this site, that I feel like I’m becoming a broken record. She stands out as one of my favourite writers of all time, with her absolute mastery over the art of language, structuring, character-work and story-telling as a whole. I love her knack for stories that feel so “reaching” and yet intimate in scope; her narratives and characters appear fractured over different places in time and space, which cements the sense of quiet isolation that’s present in all her work. Yet she also manages to thread all these lines together into an interconnected story, where all the elements and details just fall into perfect place. She makes true on this books title with that, as I believe the “gun” is a reference to Chekhovs gun; a literary device that Mandel is a master of.


The Singers Gun has all these elements in place, yet despite being I sold 4.5-star read, is still my least favourite Mandel thus far. It’s fully a matter of personal taste, as this particular story and characters were simply least appealing to me. Anton’s attempted escape from his criminally tied past, creates the perfect backdrop for Mandel to work her character-magic, but it’s simply a trope that I don’t tend to love personally.

If you want to get into Emily St. John Mandels work (which YOU SHOULD!), and are usually more of a thriller-mystery reader, I feel like this might be your perfect entry point. If you’re an established ESJM-fan like me, you already know what you’re in for. Don’t just stick to her latest works: the “older stuff” is (almost!) just as brilliant!


Find this book here on Goodreads.