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The Lola Quartet

3.42  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,643 Ratings  ·  263 Reviews
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. T ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Unbridled Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Salon's Ultimate Book Guide 2012
43rd out of 68 books — 29 voters
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Community Reviews

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Angela M
May 27, 2015 Angela M rated it really liked it

I loved Station Eleven so I was interested in trying one of Emily St. John Mandel's earlier books. While these are two very different stories, I was not disappointed. This book also illustrates the author's talent in weaving a story moving back and forth in time. I really like this mechanism because we get to see what brought these broken characters to their messy current lives ten years after high school .

Gavin , Sasha , Daniel , Jack , four high school friends and members of The Lola Quarte
Andrew Smith
Canadian author Emily St. John Mandel hasn’t yet published many books – four in fact – but I’m methodically making my way through them. I stumbled across the superb Station Eleven courtesy of some good reviews I’d seen on Goodreads and I then picked up Last Night in Montreal which I also loved. In my view, this one isn’t in the same league as the other two.

Told in her trademark style – that’s to say flipping back and forth in time and focussing on different characters, seemingly randomly – th
Apr 05, 2015 Snotchocheez rated it really liked it
Only slightly less enthralling than her post-apocalyptic Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel's The Lola Quartet is a consistently engaging, refreshingly original novel that is so utterly underrated by my fellow GR readers (3.34? Really?) it blows my mind.

Ms. Mandel hooked me from the start: Young Anna, teen mom, is sitting on a playground swingset in Virginia with her infant daughter Chloe, with $121,000 stashed underneath the stroller. The mystery of how Anna becomes a young mother, hiding o
May 12, 2015 Jaylia3 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
2014’s Station Eleven captivated me with its story of life after a pandemic flu caused the collapse of society, and The Lola Quartet, an earlier novel by the same author, shares many of Station Eleven’s story elements, including a life during crisis theme, though here the disasters are on a smaller scale.

Gavin is unsettled by the news that he may have fathered a daughter by a troubled high school girlfriend who disappeared--so unsettled he makes mistakes that sabotage his NYC career as a report
On Thanksgiving Day, I took an entire day off work and stayed in bed all day reading. It was heavenly, and I owe much of that happiness to Emily Mandel, who is three for three in my book. I adore her writing and was thrilled when she sent me an advanced copy of this newest book, The Lola Quartet.

The story itself is a fascinating one (and as someone who doesn't like for even the first chapter's contents to be revealed, I'll not give even the smallest spoilers!), but it's the way that it so deftl
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This story is just one long string of unlikely coincidences, but it must not have bothered me too much because I read the entire thing in just a few hours.

I think Gavin's downward slide began when he was too lazy call the landlord to fix the leaky shower. Every night while he was sleeping, that running faucet was like the aural equivalent of Chinese water torture, eroding his brain. End of sanity and common sense for Gavin. Permanent case of the stupids. No wonder Karen ditched him. Who wants a
Feb 25, 2012 Judith rated it really liked it
Shelves: nook-net-galley
Four friends form a jazz band in High School, the eponymous Lola Quartet....add one more (the drummer's step sister/trumpet player's girlfriend) and you have the cast of characters playing in this story

You also have a pregnancy-kept-secret, a runaway, a theft of mucho $$$$ from a meth dealer, a ruined journalist, and a cold-blooded murder. Oh my!

Gavin and Anne were High School sweethearts, until Anne became pregnant, and decided to run away with Daniel (because he had a place to run to in Utah).
Aug 04, 2012 christa rated it did not like it
The best of Emily St. John Mandel’s “The Lola Quartet” is concentrated in the novel’s first scene. Young teen mom Anna Montgomery is going about her daily ritual. She wakes early, bundles the bambino and stops at an all-night donut shop. From there she makes her way to a park where she sits on a swing and frets the bundle of more than $100,000 she’s got stashed in the stroller. A man appears in the distance.


Unfortunately, that first burst of intrigue is wasted when the cast of un-l
Iris  Pereyra

The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel

Its difficult to describe the exact literary genre The Lola Quartet falls under, it lives somewhere in the nexus of literary fiction and crime mystery. As as a character study with a noir flair, it works pretty well, as a mystery I found it somehow underwhelming and anti-climatic.

The Lola Quartet, the 3rd novel by Canadian-born writer Emily St.John-Mandel, with its sultry descriptions of run-down jazz bars, fedoras and trench coats felt definitively like Noir to me.

If you read St. Mantel highl
May 15, 2012 Judy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Mandel fans

I did not experience the unconditional love for this book that I felt after Emily St John Mandel's first two novels. This is not necessarily a bad thing because I could feel her growth as an author. The fine writing, the suspense, the great characters are all present but she has had a change of heart. Last Night in Montreal centered around a young woman whose bizarre childhood compelled her to wander ceaselessly. The protagonist in The Singer's Gun tried to outrun his criminal upbringing. Both o
Katie Lumsden
May 21, 2016 Katie Lumsden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought it wouldn't be as good as Station Eleven. I was wrong. Her characters are brilliant, her writing captivating and beautiful.
Jun 18, 2015 Catherine rated it really liked it
Station Eleven brought Emily St. John Mandel to my attention and she's quickly becoming my literary crush of Summer 2015. The Lola Quartet is not as amazing as SE, but it's still a lovely little onion with layers to be peeled away and enjoyed.

The Lola Quartet was the name of a jazz quartet at a performing arts magnet school ten years ago. Gavin Sasaki, arguably the main character of the book, did not pursue music, but earned a journalism degree at Columbia, although things have not been going w
Jan 23, 2013 Elyse rated it really liked it
Emily St. John Mandel is a talented-unique-writer.

This is her 3rd book. (I've read them all, enjoyed them all).

Its hard to put into words just what's so 'different' about this author. (but she 'is' different).

All three books have well-developed personalities of her characters!

Something very special about these books (the style of writing ---the stories themselves --the characters)...

Keep those books coming Ms. 'Emily St. John Mandel' (love your work)!
Feb 15, 2016 John rated it really liked it
A superbly written and constructed literary thriller that had me thinking of Donna Tartt's The Secret History and held my attention from start to finish; it was only when I came here to make my notes that I made the connection with the novel Station Eleven, about which I've heard so much buzz.

The Lola Quartet of the title is a Florida high-school jazz combo, whose four participants are brought back together a decade later by a string of circumstances. Gavin, who for a while looked to be becoming
Jun 25, 2016 Bandit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm something of a completist. If I like the author enough I'll try to read as much of their work as possible, occasionally forgetting to pace myself. Mandel has impressed me tremendously, this was an easy choice. Though it's possible that I've read it too closely to Last Night not be distracted by the similarities. Not just minute details, like the characters reading the same obscure book, but the fact that they are all mostly the same age (late 20s), there are deliberate disappearances ...more
Mar 16, 2012 Chelsea rated it liked it
I really enjoyed Emily St. John's first book, Last Night in Montreal, and her second, The Signer's Gun, was just okay. This third novel is somewhere between the two.

The first thing I noticed was that like her first book, this was again about a mysterious girl and a man out to find her. Oh how I love stories like this! I just can't get enough of guys tortured by the girl that got away. The pain of wanting and having loved these women is completely romantic. The second thing I noticed is Emily's s
Piepie Beuttel
Jun 01, 2016 Piepie Beuttel rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
I'm finding Emily St. John Mandel's books to be addicting, and to me it's a little sad that I'll soon be all caught up before she releases another book. Mandel has a very smart way of writing, and her words just flow like water in a brilliant, beautiful presentation.

The Lola Quartet is not a romance, not a thriller... I'm not sure where to classify this book. There's murder, loss, pain... sharp emotions, all. It could be said that her characters are imperfect, unlikeable, but their stories are
Aug 20, 2013 Angela rated it liked it
A little too fluffy to be taken seriously, but I enjoyed reading it anyway.
Terri Jacobson
Jun 21, 2015 Terri Jacobson rated it liked it
The Lola Quartet is a jazz group formed by some high school students in Sebastian, Florida, in this novel by the same name. As the story opens, it's 10 years after graduation, and Gavin Sasaki, one of the members of the group, is a struggling journalist in New York City. The novel begins there, and travels back and forth from the present to the past. We see the group playing their last gig after high school graduation. After that night, their lives will go in quite different directions. The plot ...more
Jan 18, 2013 Jill rated it liked it
"The Lola Quartet" refers to the musical group created by four of the five principal protagonists when they were students at a high school for the performing arts. Gavin, Daniel, Jack, and Sasha were the members of The Lola Quartet. The fifth student, Anna, a year younger than the others, was the sister of one of the members and girlfriend of at least one of the others. The story tells what happened to them in the subsequent ten years by weaving back and forth in time, gradually exposing the mea ...more
Diane S ☔
Dec 19, 2011 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
Four friends, and a girl who is the girlfriend of one and the stepsister of the only female, start a jazz quartet in highschool. It is their last concert and their last year in high school and they all have bright plans for the future. I can relate to this because I remember being in that position, didn't like jazz much, but music was always around. Thought at 17 I was all grown up and the future was limitless. A decade passes and the group is brought together again by a picture, find out their ...more
Neil George
Feb 09, 2016 Neil George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
The only thing I can fault about this book is that it feels like a few too many coincidences for the sake of keeping the plot limited to a small group of people. It bothered me a bit as I read, but, in truth, the story is too compelling, the characters too believable and the writing just too good to worry about minor details like that.

The book starts with a woman and a baby. And thousands of dollars in the baby's push chair. The story of the money and the baby gradually unfolds in the form of a
Jan 20, 2012 Edan rated it really liked it
This was such a fun and riveting read, and like all of Emily St. John Mandel's books, the structure thrilled me. The way it's put together--wow, that takes some skills...

The beginning felt a bit stilted to me--some of the high school details seemed off (the prom is held after graduation--did I read that wrong?), and the reporter/newspaper scenes struck me as a touch familiar--but the book gets its legs soon after and just dances. I loved the eerie Florida landscape, part endless suburb, part bre
Feb 28, 2016 Derek rated it really liked it
Great read, from one of the most interesting writing voices in our time. It seemed that the theme here is just how much you change over time, or how much life can change you at the same time. And from all this change, do you still recognize yourself?
Sep 09, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, 2015
I wouldn't consider myself a huge fan of mysteries or thrillers, but after reading Station Eleven last year and enjoying it so much, I was interested in reading more of Emily St. John Mandel's work.

I'm much more inclined to favor literary fiction over thrillers, but this book falls somewhere in the middle. I noticed one reviewer describe this as a "literary thriller" which seems to be the ideal description. The story follows Gavin Sasaki, a disgraced journalist who travels back to his hometown
Mar 27, 2016 Rachel rated it liked it
I would give this 3 1/2 stars if I could. There's some really lovely writing in this book, and I liked the way she structured the story, jumping between perspectives and back and forth in time, coloring in the bigger picture a little more with each chapter. It's the same structure she honed so perfectly in Station Eleven, one of my favorite books of 2014.

This story wasn't super original but it kept me reading and didn't end quite the way I was expecting. However, for whatever reason, I didn’t re
May 27, 2012 Misha rated it really liked it
Mandel is so good at writing these lovely, fluid, melancholy stories about disaffected people adrift in life. There is always a mystery to be solved, but the point is more one of self-discovery for one (or more) of the characters than the mystery itself. Her books aren't fast-paced by any means, but they do just read themselves.
May 15, 2016 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven, and I recommended it to my friend Julie. She read it, loved it, and started reading Mandel's other novels, and recommended this to me. (It's like that with reading enthusiasts...) It's very different from Station Eleven, and yet I saw certain similarities. One is a genius for structure - I kept thinking she was not following a strict chronological order, yet she was always feeding me enough relevant information and interesting flashbacks to satisfy ...more
Jul 23, 2014 Matt rated it liked it
This book came together nicely in the final few scenes, but it struck me as too one-note and superficial throughout. All major characters are saddened and weakened by a past mistake, and everyone struggles to cobble together a new identity. This trope wouldn't necessarily be a problem, except that there really isn't much of a struggle put up by any of the characters. They seem more or less resigned to their failures, and what small attempts they make to improve their lots mostly happen outside t ...more
Nov 11, 2012 Susan rated it did not like it
The Lola Quartet, is the story of four friends in high school.
Gavin, Daniel, Jack, .

Gavin is about to leave Sabastian Florida to go up north for college, and working. Right before this he's girlfriend Anna, who will be left behind to finish high school. Anna, comes from a troubled family, she is constantly coming to school with bruises and cuts. She is in trouble, pregnant, and decides not to tell Gavin she is pregnant instead, she runs off with Daniel to his family in Utah.

In the meantime, Gav
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Emily St. John Mandel was born and raised on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. She studied contemporary dance at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and lived briefly in Montreal before relocating to New York.

Her fourth novel, Station Eleven, is forthcoming in September 2014. All three of her previous novels—Last Night in Montreal, The Singer's Gun, and The Lola Quartet—were Indie Next
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