The Lola Quartet is Emily St. John Mandel’s latest novel and an excellent one at that! I was impressed years ago when I read her first novel Last Night in Montreal (my review) but I have to say I was blown away by this one. Her storytelling ability has only gotten more enthralling!
The book’s main focus is really Gavin, a journalist in New York, although there are a host of other characters that connect into the story. Gavin is a broken man as are all of the characters in this novel. Gavin’s girlfriend left him months ago, his job isn’t going all that well, and his shower has a leak that is threatening to flood his bathroom yet he just doesn’t have the motivation to do much about it.
When Gavin’s sister Eilo shows him a picture of a little girl she took in a house that was being foreclosed, they are both stunned by how much she resembles his sister. More stunning is that Gavin believes this little girl Chloe to be his. When Gavin loses his job after some very bad decisions, he moves back to his home town in Florida to live and work with his sister. His main focus though and this is something he even hides from his sister, is to find his old girlfriend Anna and her little girl Chloe.
The journey to locating Anna and Chloe leads Gavin to discover some disturbing things. What he learns terrifies him. Anna had gotten herself into trouble with some awful people – people who don’t hesitate to shoot first and ask questions later. As the mystery unfolds Gavin is forced to make some life changing decisions as well as really take a look at himself and decide what to do about his own future.
I can’t say I really connected with the characters but I didn’t have to. This novel is more about feeling for the characters, understanding the turmoil they are involved in, and wondering how it will all end. The Lola Quartet would be an excellent book club choice as there are so many things to talk about regarding friendships, feelings of guilt, and love. More importantly this book makes you sit back and ask yourself the question of just what would you do for someone you love? Would you pull out all the stops including putting yourself in jeopardy?
I find Emily’s writing beautiful but her books are the kind that you have to concentrate on (not in a bad way) to fully absorb her characters and plot. In The Lola Quartet there are quite a few characters to keep track off and the story does jump around quite a bit. Once you’re in the groove of things though you will totally lose yourself in the story she is telling and the pages will fly by as Emily builds the mystery of her novel culminating in a very satisfying ending. I would absolutely recommend The Lola Quartet!
You can pick up your own copy of The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel which was released by Unbridled Books on May 8 at Amazon.com, IndieBound, and B&N and releasing in Canada on May 28 by McArthur & Company at Amazon.ca or Chapters Indigo. Be sure to pop in and visit Emily St. John Mandel’s website and you can find her on Facebook and Twitter as well!
Source: Review copy provided by Unbridled Books via McArthur & Co. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.