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The Lola Quartet (2012)

by Emily St. John Mandel

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3874050,307 (3.53)49
Gavin Sasaki is 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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Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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 |
Another fascinating and intricate novel from this excellent author that kept me reading far later into the night than I probably should have done. ( )
  JBD1 | Jun 3, 2021 |
With the Lola Quartet I have finally read all of Emily St. John Mandel's 5 novels. She is an excellent writer. Her books are a combination of good writing, an interesting story, and good character development. The story surrounds a group of high school musicians that are friends. The four of them Gavin, Daniel, Sasha, and Jack are the Lola Quartet. Anna is Sasha's half sister. These are the main characters. As with all of her books, this book goes back and forth in time with the present 2008 being during the economic downturn. In the present Gavin is a a disgraced reporter who returns to his steamy South Florida hometown. There he discovers that his girl friend Anna who disappeared 10 years before may have had his daughter. This along with the fact that we learn early on in the book that Anna stole $120,000 from a Utah drug dealer are the focal points that fuel the story. For me this was a page turner. Mandel uses coincidence(maybe a little too much) to connect characters but it does add complexity to the plot. It is a good story about choice, friendships, etc. St.John Mandel has become one of my favorite writers. I would recommend reading all of her books starting with the first so you can see her evolution and her creativity with the different stories that she tells. ( )
  nivramkoorb | Aug 31, 2020 |
I found this to be a missed opportunity. I think there's the possibility of a better book in the themes, but I particularly think it would have been interesting to focus on how this group of people move forward from the events toward the end of the book. That's the most interesting bit - the rest is just setup for the most part. There's not enough time spent with any of the characters for them to feel fleshed out, and Anna in particular is a bit of a cipher. That said, the idea of how a group of people with a shared past move forward in very different directions is an interesting one. The plot itself is moved way too much by coincidence. ( )
  duchessjlh | Sep 25, 2018 |
This was fine, but left me feeling a bit eh. I think Emily St. John Mandel has a great knack for character development, but the plot of The Lola Quartet is a bit contrived and this book just didn't weave the spell that [b:Station Eleven|20170404|Station Eleven|Emily St. John Mandel|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1415583784s/20170404.jpg|28098716] did. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (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 is 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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