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The Lola Quartet (2012)

by Emily St. John Mandel

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4844344,774 (3.55)57
Gavin Sasaki's a promising young journalist in New York City, until he's fired in disgrace following a series of unforgivable lapses in his work. It's early 2009, and the world has gone dark very quickly: the economic collapse has turned an era that magazine headlines once heralded as the second gilded age into something that more closely resembles the Great Depression. The last thing Gavin wants to do is return to his hometown of Sebastian, Florida, but he's drifting toward bankruptcy and is in no position to refuse when he's offered a job by his sister, Eilo, a real estate broker who deals.… (more)
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    Follow Her Home by Steph Cha (sduff222)
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    Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel (LynnB)
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    Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon (baystateRA)
    baystateRA: Similar tone of underlying tension in tangentially connected stories. Both excellent!
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» See also 57 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
(3) I really liked 'Station Eleven' and rather liked 'The Glass Hotel' as well. I heard this praised as a literary mystery - perhaps my favorite genre so eagerly bought. A group of high schoolers in a band are entangled with one another in ways that are not apparent to our opening protagonist Gavin Sasaski. Ten years post-graduation and he is a young reporter in NYC from the Florida suburbs who doesn't really think about his high school girlfriend and bandmates much until he goes to cover a story about exotic wildlife in the swamps of Florida encroaching on the suburbs and his sister shows him a mysterious snapshot of a little girl that looks just like her. Thus begin Gavin's unraveling as he attempts to determine if Anna was pregnant at the close of high school when she drifted out of his life. What happened to her? What happened to the Lola Quartet?

Ultimately, the book is from all of the band members points of view, though Gavin remains the reader's center. The story was really not all that mysterious though it jumps around in time quite a bit, so there is that. But in the end, it is rather hum drum. There is very little redemption. Interesting that the things that are described as beautiful - the suburbs, a casino, malls - are typically though of as crass and ugly. Are the author's descriptions tongue and cheek? The book felt a bit dreamy and disorienting in that respect.

All in all, this was just above OK for me. Not my favorite of hers, but readable and entertaining. Not really a mystery either, so what felt like bait and switch disappointed me. ( )
  jhowell | Jan 9, 2022 |
some trademark mandel wild coincidences and jonathan alkaitis, the madoffesque ponzi scheme guy from the glass hotel gets a mention. no virus though. ( )
  austinburns | Dec 16, 2021 |
Emily St. John Mandel’s ability to weave together layers of story and characters really shows through in her 2012 novel, The Lola Quartet. A decade after high school, the members of a jazz band, The Lola Quartet, find themselves in different places in life, but none of them are very good. As the pieces of the puzzle Mandel writes begin to fall into place, the book becomes a bit of a thriller--but not quite. The Lola Quartet is about loneliness and desperation, and Mandel does an excellent job of capturing that noir feeling without making it too depressing. An interesting read for fans of hers looking to read her earlier work. ( )
  Hccpsk | Aug 29, 2021 |
It's the flawed characters I come for, and this book didn't disappoint. There were some unexpected connections to the Glass Hotel, and the themes of making bad investment and getting screwed by the economy reappear. ( )
  Enno23 | Aug 15, 2021 |
This is the third book by Ms. Mandel that I have read this year and it is another fantastic read. I almost gave it 4 stars just to not give another 5 star review but this book earned the top rating. The titular quartet is a jazz combo formed in a high school in Florida and once again Ms. Mandel masterfully handles timelines, flashbacks, multiple characters, and multiple points of view to weave together an engrossing, at times frustrating, but always intriguing story. Everyone is operating with the knowledge they have, gee just like in real life, and so their ability to make decisions is hampered by incomplete facts. They also are all broken in different ways, hmm real life again, and as they do things to make their situations worse I found myself once again yelling at the book. For the record it did not answer. This is yet another book that puts me in places that I have never been. I had a great family growing up and was supported in all I did. It is heartbreaking to see the consequences of indifferent or destructive parenting rendered in fiction. As much as we might hope for a happy ever after, it doesn't always happen. I love falling into a story like this and these characters will stay with me. Even Gavin, who commits a workplace sin that is unforgivable to me. If you read the book and know me, you will understand. ( )
  MarkMad | Jul 14, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
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"The novelty of our adventure was wearing thin, but not because our feet hurt and we were constantly blaming each other for the forgotten sunscreen. There was some other thing that we could not clearly explain. The farther we ventured, the more everything looked the same, as if each new street, park, or shopping mall was simply another version of our own, made from the same giant assembly kit. Only the names were different." Shaun Tan, Tales from Outer Suburbia
"One of these mornings/
You're going to rise up singing/
Then you'll spread your wings/
And you'll take to the sky/
But until that morning/
There's nothing can harm you..."
George Gershwin, Summertime
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Anna had fallen into a routine, or as much of a routine as a seventeen-year-old can reasonably fall into when she's transient and living in hiding with an infant. She was staying at her sister's friend's house in a small town in Virginia.
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Gavin Sasaki's a promising young journalist in New York City, until he's fired in disgrace following a series of unforgivable lapses in his work. It's early 2009, and the world has gone dark very quickly: the economic collapse has turned an era that magazine headlines once heralded as the second gilded age into something that more closely resembles the Great Depression. The last thing Gavin wants to do is return to his hometown of Sebastian, Florida, but he's drifting toward bankruptcy and is in no position to refuse when he's offered a job by his sister, Eilo, a real estate broker who deals.

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