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The Lola Quartet (2012)

by Emily St. John Mandel

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5544742,675 (3.58)62
Fiction. Literature. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:From the bestselling author of Station Eleven and Sea of Tranquility??Gavin Sasaki was a promising young journalist in New York City until the day he was fired for plagiarism.

The last thing he wants is to sell foreclosed real estate for his sister Eilo??s company in their Florida hometown, but he??s in no position to refuse her job offer. Plus, there??s another reason to go home: Eilo recently met a ten-year-old girl who looks very much like Gavin and has the same last name as his high-school girlfriend, Anna, who left town abruptly after graduation.

Determined to find out if this little girl might be his daughter, Gavin sets off to track down Anna, starting with the three friends they shared back when he was part of a jazz group called ??The Lola Quartet.? As Gavin pieces together their stories, he learns that Anna has been on the run for good reason, and soon his investigation into her sudden disappearance all those years ago takes a seriously dangerous turn.

Look for Emily St. John Mandel??s bestselling new novel, Sea of
… (more)
  1. 00
    Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon (baystateRA)
    baystateRA: Similar tone of underlying tension in tangentially connected stories. Both excellent!
  2. 00
    Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel (LynnB)
  3. 00
    Follow Her Home by Steph Cha (sduff222)
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I love this author’s work so much that I was just happy to read another book by her. While it was interesting, it’s definitely not her best. A quartet of high school musicians find their paths crossing 10 years later. One is a struggling journalist, another a gambling addict, another a drug addict, another on the run for stealing money, etc. Switching back-and-forth in time and POV became very convoluted, and it was hard to feel connected to any of the characters with the constant shuffle. Despite the plot, the descriptions of the oppressive Florida heat and the nostalgia for the past are beautifully written, and great indicators of the author’s skill. Read it if you are a completist for her work, but otherwise start with Station Eleven.

“The point was that Gavin had opened a door, cracked it slightly, and he could see through to the disgrace and shadows on the other side. If you tell a lie it’s easier to tell another. And abyss yawns suddenly at your feet.” ( )
  bookworm12 | Jan 29, 2024 |
Reading this after Ms. Mandel had already become a famous, best selling author, it might be easy to pre-judge. To think that this book isn't nearly as good as her subsequent works, the books that made her famous.
While this might not be a polished as her later works, one can certainly see Ms Mandel's talent. It's there, the inter-connected stories, the easy flow between the stories, the characters and their flaws and redemptions.
This books just confirms in me that I need to find her two earlier works. ( )
  hhornblower | Aug 28, 2023 |
This book scores double: it's a fine detective novel that honors the genre while also sporting literary qualities that enhance the storytelling without getting in the way of the action. I'm sold. More Emily St. John Mandel. ( )
  Cr00 | Apr 1, 2023 |
This is my fourth novel of Mandel's and one that was written before her breakthrough Station Eleven. In this one the lives of four high school students are described; students connected by the jazz quartet they formed their senior year. In the ten years since their last performance, they have not seen that much of each other until an event connects them all to a dramatic conclusion. Gavin seems to be the central focus as he leaves his south Florida home to major in journalism at Columbia and land a job at a NYC paper. Events there spiral badly while at the same time he finds out he may have fathered a daughter with his high school girlfriend. Each of the band members have faltered in the narrative and their stories enable Mandel to write about addiction, poverty, the housing crash of 2008, and the loneliness of Florida's suburban landscape, "a continuous centerless glimmering of lights, shadows of palm trees on parking lots, malls shining like beacons. . . . None of the cities had edges anymore, just a long slow reach across landscapes.” This earlier novel of Mandel's in intricately plotted and evokes a mood lurking danger, but I did not find myself highlighting sentences or descriptions the way I did with her later novels. This is probably a good thing as I think she continues to get better. Also interesting about her work is an interconnectedness where characters are referred to in one novel and written about in another. I kind of love seeing those connections, much like William Kennedy or Elizabeth Stroud. I would recommend this quick read but highly recommend her later novels.

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The point was that Gavin had opened a door, cracked it just slightly, and he could see through to the disgrace and shadows on the other side. If you tell a lie it’s easier to tell another. An abyss yawns suddenly at your feet. At night he went home and stared into the flickering blue of the television and felt almost nothing.

The preceding decade had been hard on her. She carried the kind of exhaustion that he’d seen only rarely in a woman so young, and mostly only during his time as a reporter. She had the look of women who’ve worried too much, smoked too many cigarettes, been too poor for too many years and worked too hard for long hours.

These were men who’d been through trench warfare and emerged hard and half-broken into the glitter and commotion of the between-wars world; men out of time, out of place, hanging on by the threads of their uneven souls. The detectives were honourable but they’d seen too much to be good. The hardest among them had seen too much to be frightened. The mean streets were nothing compared to the trenches of Europe. Some of them had lost everything and all of them had lost something, and consequently most of them drank too much. ( )
  novelcommentary | Mar 25, 2023 |
The title refers to a high-school band. On the night of their final gig, as their senior year is winding down, the trumpet-player's girlfriend disappears amid rumors of pregnancy. Ten years later, Gavin (the trumpet player), having moved to New York to pursue a career in journalism, gets an assignment to return to his Florida hometown to do a story. He meets up with his sister, who shows him a photograph she took of a 10-year old girl that looks exactly like she did at that age. The taking of that photo has set events into motion that sheds light onto semi-forgotten mysteries. Subsequently illuminated is an incredible story involving stolen drug money, broken lives, faulty memory, addiction, violence, and murder.

This is the 2nd Mandel book I have read and, once again, her characters are what carry the narrative. Believable and sympathetic, Gavin, Anna, Sasha, Daniel, and Jack - all of them grown into less than their dreams - pull you along as their relationships and intertwined stories are revealed. Gritty and real, this is a slow-burn, noir-ish tale reminiscent of a Cohen brothers film. ( )
  ScoLgo | Feb 3, 2023 |
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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..."
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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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Fiction. Literature. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:From the bestselling author of Station Eleven and Sea of Tranquility??Gavin Sasaki was a promising young journalist in New York City until the day he was fired for plagiarism.

The last thing he wants is to sell foreclosed real estate for his sister Eilo??s company in their Florida hometown, but he??s in no position to refuse her job offer. Plus, there??s another reason to go home: Eilo recently met a ten-year-old girl who looks very much like Gavin and has the same last name as his high-school girlfriend, Anna, who left town abruptly after graduation.

Determined to find out if this little girl might be his daughter, Gavin sets off to track down Anna, starting with the three friends they shared back when he was part of a jazz group called ??The Lola Quartet.? As Gavin pieces together their stories, he learns that Anna has been on the run for good reason, and soon his investigation into her sudden disappearance all those years ago takes a seriously dangerous turn.

Look for Emily St. John Mandel??s bestselling new novel, Sea of

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