The Lola Quartet
By Emily St John Mandel
(Unbridled Books, Paperback, 9781609530990, 279pp.)
Publication Date: April 2013
List Price: $16.00*
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Disgraced and fired from his newspaper job, a young man returns to the Florida town where he grew up and begins to search for a daughter who he has only recently learned may exist and who may be at considerable risk.
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 in return to his hometown of Sebastian, Florida, but he’s drifting toward bankruptcy and is no position to refuse when he’s offered a job by his sister, Eilo, a real estate broker who deals in foreclosed homes.
Eilo recently paid a visit to a home that had a ten-year-old child in it, a child who looks very much like Gavin and who has the same last name as Gavin’s high school girlfriend Anna, whom Gavin last saw a decade ago. Gavina former jazz musician, a reluctant broker of foreclosed properties, obsessed with film noir and private detectivesbegins his own private investigation in an effort to track down Anna and their apparent daughter who have been on the run all these years from a drug dealer from whom Anna stole $121,000.
In her most ambitious novel yet, Emily Mandel combines her most fully realized characters with perhaps her most fully developed story that examines the difficulty of being the person you'd like to be, loss, the way a small and innocent action (e.g., taking a picture of a girl in a foreclosed house) can have disastrous consequences. The Lola Quartet is a work that pays homage to literary noir, is concerned with jazz, Django Reinhardt, economic collapse, love, Florida’s exotic wildlife problem, crushing tropical heat, the leavening of the contemporary world, compulsive gambling, and the unreliability of memory.
This is literary fiction with a strong detective story element.
Her previous novels are The Lola Quartet, which was the #1 Indie Next pick for May 2012; Last Night in Montreal (a June 2009 Indie Next pick and a finalist for ForeWord Magazine's 2009 Book of the Year); and The Singer's Gun (winner of an Indie Bookseller's Choice Award, #1 Indie Next pick for May 2010, long-listed for both The Morning News' 2011 Tournament of Books and the 2011 Spinetingler Awards.)
She is a staff writer for The Millions. Her essays and short stories have been included in numerous anthologies, including The Best American Mystery Stories 2013. She is married and lives in Brooklyn.