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The Lola Quartet Hardcover – May 1, 2012
Everything We Keep: A Novel
On the day of her wedding, she buried her fiancé—and unearthed shocking secrets. Learn More
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The mystery surrounding the two percolates with suspense the friends are hiding something but the most interesting aspect of Ms. St. John Mandel’s novel, her third, is how aggressively unglamorous it is, starting with Gavin himself. But he’s hardly the only one with a fallen-down life” in a world of weed-fringed cul-de-sacs, 7-Elevens and Cinnabon-scented’ mall air.” New York Times
[An] elegant, hypnotic novel .engrossing .Mandel brilliantly modulates the heightening suspense in a novel that remains, above all, an elegy for lost and perhaps only imagined innocence.” The Washington Post
". . . the book, like its brilliant predecessor, The Singer’s Gun,” virtually trumpets its author’s talents: her charismatic verbal grace and acuity, the rich atmosphere she creates, and the thoughtful way she tries to tease meaning out of the collateral damage her characters, in screwing up, have wrought."The Boston Globe
A remarkable morality play. Perhaps all novelists can be said to wrestle with morality; Mandel seems to wrestle with it at greater length and in greater depth than most novelists, a statement that applies to her previous novels, Last Night in Montreal and The Singer’s Gun .Reared in the Canadian province of British Columbia, a student of dance in Toronto and eventually a resident of Brooklyn, Mandel gained insights into human nature that promise more first-rate fiction.”The Dallas Morning News
The Lola Quartet is a decade-spanning, well-compressed novel with a pared-down style . . . deft . . . riveting . . .
What makes this book memorable is . . . the meditation of these characters, who are not otherwise criminals, on their complicity in real crime.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
This adrenaline-fuelled tale is hard to put down.” The Globe and Mail
"This ingeniously structured literary thriller begins in sunlight before slipping deeper and deeper into crime and moral darkness. ...All I can tell you about the novel's resolution is that it involves a shooting, an impersonation and a murder. Summarized, the plot twists sound improbable, but Emily St. John Mandel is so sure-footed in her invention and so good at delineating her cast, that I went along trustingly and with bated breath."
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Riveting . Evocative, intriguing, and complex, this novel is as smooth as the underbelly of a deadly, furtive reptile. Mandel’s substantial fan base will rejoice; word of mouth will bring new fans on board.”
Library Journal, Starred Review
The author again melds mystery plotting with literary techniques like shifting points-of-view, resulting in both sophistication and suspense . . . Mandel’s novel excels as a character study that considers the slow degradation of hopes, dreams, and expectations of people who are only in their late 20s but already feel ancient.”
gut-wrenching .After last year’s superb, twisty The Singer’s Gun, Mandel wouldn’t be faulted if she eased up and wrote something more straightforward, but she didn’t. Subtlety in the midst of chaos is her forte, and as the action slowly ramps up to murder, her tone is controlled, her artistic vision flawless.”Mystery Scene
Mandel offers up her unique blend of literary character studies mixed with crime fiction in her third novel . Fascinating.”
The noir-ish storyline will hook you from the first page, but you’ll stay for the well-drawn relationships and all-too-familiar grown-up angst.”
Flavorwire in their article on 10 New Must Reads for May
Each of her books is a winning combination of gorgeous, unique imagery and nail-biting, page-turning narrative....Mandel’s novels perfectly blend beautiful language and suspenseful mystery to investigate human behavior and relationships.”
About the Author
She is currently a staff writer for The Millions, and she’s had both essays and short fiction recently anthologized.
Top Customer Reviews
Gavin becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Anna, and whether this young girl could possibly be his child. In the hopes of learning more about the past, he tracks down former friends from, The Lola Quartet. He is hoping that at least one of the members, Anna's brother will be able to help him find out more about what happened to Anna.
The story is told through a series of flashbacks blending present with the past over a 10-year period. The author is extremely talented, providing an interesting character study of the former friends. It's a story of dreams not turning out as planned, especially when flawed characters have made bad decisions and choices in life. I loved the pitch perfect descriptions of the Florida landscape. The economic situations experienced by many when the housing crisis reached it's peak were dead on accurate.
Although for me, the novel got off to a slow start, the writing and the surprising conclusion are enough reason to recommend this book as one that many readers will enjoy. I definitely plan to try another book by this author.
Meanwhile, a third member of Gavin's former jazz combo, Daniel Smith, is in Utah negotiating with a meth dealer to pay a large debt. Daniel is now a Florida cop. The novel's opening scene lets the reader know that the debt is somehow related to Anna, but its exact nature remains a mystery until much of the story has been told. The final member, piano and sax player Jack Baranovsky, is still in Florida, making a contribution to the story as a pill addict who knows more about Anna's situation -- and his own involvement in it -- than he's prepared to tell Gavin.
Why is Anna on the run? Why does everyone but Gavin seem to know that she was pregnant when she left school? Why is her baby turning up in Florida ten years later? How does acclaimed jazz guitarist Liam Deval fit into Anna's plight? These are the absorbing questions that kept me reading. The novel fills in the backstory as it progresses. Eventually the pieces fit together tightly, leaving the reader to worry about the present danger that occupies the last third of the novel.Read more ›
They all moved on but Gavin more than the others. He got the college degree that sent him to New York to work as a high-powered journalist. Addicted to the infamy, he started glamorizing his stories with quotes that he thought his boring subjects could have said ignoring their real world answers, until the inevitable happened and he had to leave, head hung low.
The shame took him home to swampy steamy Florida from where he escaped to avoid the omnipresent heat. His sister found him work with her firm, flipping homes going into foreclosure, and also showed him a photograph she took of a ten-year-old girl, the spitting image of Gavin; no mistaking the Japanese ancestry. Daniel is now a small town cop, Anna's sister Sasha works nights in the town diner, and the last member of the band, Jack is living a drug-addled life in a tent in a friend's back yard. Gavin uses the skills he learned as a top-notch reporter to put together the big picture and track down what appears to be the daughter he never knew about.
The lives the four led since high school took them down paths no one could have imagined, and what Gavin learns shocks and scares him to the core. Be prepared to be surprised.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Skip this book. Not worth it. Read station eleven instead. 1000 times better. Everyone has to start somewhere in their literary career, right?Published 1 month ago
I'm something of a completist. If I like the author enough I'll try to read as much of their work as possible, occasionally forgetting to pace myself. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mia
actually I bought all of Ms Mandel's books and read them in succession, so I have to say they were all easy to read and quite entertaining. Read morePublished 6 months ago by dojo
I start reading any of Emily St. John Mandel's books, and it is hard to put them down. I pretty much read them straight through barely stopping to eat. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Coach Kirk
Once again, Ms. St. John Mandel does an excellent job drawing her readers in with deep characters and an intricate storyline. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Sopapilla
Loved Station Eleven by her. This is an ultimately tedious tale with no likeable characters.Published 9 months ago by tbehling
This was a very unusual plot. Well written, organized, moved at a good pace.Published 9 months ago by brian king