Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Lola Quartet; Emily St John Mandel


Author:  Emily St. John Mandel
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Unbridled Books
Edition: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Setting:  Florida....
Date Completed: 5/2/2012
Rating: 4/5
Recommend: yes

In Emily St John' Mandel's latest book: The Lola Quartet four former high school friends who were part of a jazz group in high school, (The Lola Quartet), find their lives intersect after many years, having reconnected under unusual circumstances. When the novel's protagonist, Gavin Sasaki, a journalist from NYC, is fired from his job in 2009, he moves to Sebastian, Florida, when his sister, Elio, offers him a job in her real estate business. His job is working with clients whose homes will soon be foreclosed upon.  While in Florida he sees a photo of young girl about 10 years of age who looks exactly like his sister when she was about the same age.  This girl, Chloe Montgomery, bears the same last name as a girl Gavin dated 10 years earlier who mysteriously disappeared almost overnight.  At the time rumor was that Anna Montgomery, had been pregnant.

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.

20 comments:

  1. I'm really curious about the end of the book, Diane! Adding it to my TBR list.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've heard Mandel is a great writer. I really want to try this book.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Can't wait to read this one - I've been very impressed by Mandel's writing in her first two books!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well the mystery of what happened to the girl definitely has me intrigued. Sounds like a good read.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm so excited about this book! I loved the author's debut book and her next one is still waiting to be read on my nook. This one sounds just as fabulous and intricate.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Now thats got me curious too!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've read a few reviews of this one and everyone has a different take on it. Different, yet they all liked it by the end of the story. I'm not sure this one is for me.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think I have this one on my Nook but I keep not getting to it I'm not sure why. You have me interested in the ending. I think it's time to get around to it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I really like the other work by this author that I have read, and this one sounds excellent as well. Your synopsis sure has got me curious! I will have to check this one out when I can. Fantastic review today. You really piqued my enthusiasm and curiosity with this one!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have this one to review soon, and I also have not read her earlier books. I'm glad to know the novel starts slowly. I'll wait to start until I have enough time to devote. I'm looking forward to this one.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I remember during the Spotlight Series on Unbridled Books, many of the participants picked up books by Mandel. I've still not read her, but I think if I do, I'll try to start with one that maybe doesn't start *quite* so slowly.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yes! Yes! I think that this one is for me! Thank you for your review.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I keep running into this author on so many book blogs. Sounds like I need to give her a try one day.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I haven't heard of this author before, but your review makes me want to read this novel.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This sounds like a good read to me. I'm glad that you mentioned that the start is slow. As long as I know that going in then I'm more apt to keep reading!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'll be reviewing this one as well so I'm glad you see you liked it. I read her first book and I find she has a different kind of writing style that draws you in slowly but then really holds you in her story. I'm looking forward to this one.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I loved Last Night in Montreal - it was one of my favorite books for that year. I was hesitant to read The Singer's Gun because I loved her first so much. It was different but good. I can't wait to get my hands on her newest.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I cam back to read your review now that I'm finished. My experience with her books is that they do build throughout and I do love how she develops a story. She's one author that I keep on my to read list and I really need to fit in her second novel soon.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'd like to give this one a try.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thank again for visiting.