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The Lola Quartet

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  493 ratings  ·  122 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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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...more
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)....more
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...more
May 15, 2012 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
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...more
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...more
A little too fluffy to be taken seriously, but I enjoyed reading it anyway.
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...more
"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
The Joy of Booking
The Lola Quartet is a character study of the four members of a high school jazz quartet. Each member has struggled with life and the choices they’ve made since leaving the safe womb of a small town where they had real friendships and dreams of becoming great. The drama centers around Gavin, a member of the quartet, and his high school girlfriend Anna, younger sister to another member. Both Anna and Gavin are flawed characters, believable in their imperfection and with many layers to go through....more
Steven Buechler
A great read for people who love good jazz and Fedoras but are trapped in the 21st Century.

Page 222:
Jack had been playing the saxophone on and off for a long time before he became aware of movement at the edge of the yard. Gavin was coming through the bushes at the side of the house. "Don't stop," Gavin said. So Jack continued, eased back into another long loop of melody. George Gershwin's "Summertime." Music for a place where it was almost always summer. He knew an arrangement that kept the son...more
Laura de Leon
4.5 stars

Emily St. John Mandel writes books that are unlike any others I've read. For her books, that's a very, very good thing. I've really enjoyed all three of them.

In this case, I don't know whether to describe this more as a thriller with a very literary bent, or a novel about the uncertainty we all face as we move from our teenage dreams into adulthood (which has a mystery/thriller plot as a frame). It doesn't matter. I enjoyed it as both, although probably more as a look at life than as a...more
Ignore the hype - this is more of a novella that explores the relationships between five friends and their past/present selves than it is a mystery or suspense novel.

The Lola Quartet (named after the movie, not the song) is a group of four high school musicians: Jake, Daniel, Gavin and Sasha. They attended a high school for performing arts in Sebastian FL, and Anna was both Sasha's half-sister and Gavin's girlfriend. Shortly before Gavin's graduation, Anna disappears - her homelife is abusive, b...more
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...more
Thing Two
Mar 28, 2012 Thing Two rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Thing Two by: Helen DeBevoise
This was a good-enough book about four friends from high school whose lives intersect 10 years later. They live in a run-down beach town, and for this reason, it wasn't an upbeat book - you see the dark underbelly of Florida's East coast. It wasn't hard to read; it had some very nice pieces which worked together well, but I would have liked more description - the ocean life is hardly ever mentioned, for instance. I'm giving it 3 stars, because it wore on me. I'm thinking that's just because I LI...more
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
Rowena Holloway
In her third novel, Mandel creates an atmospheric tale of love, fear and unrealised potential.

Gavin Sasaki is a man of another age. He loves jazz, fedoras and a time before technology, but the biggest challenge Gavin faces is the news he may have a ten year old daughter with Anna, the girlfriend who left him in high school and whom he hasn’t seen since. The news shocks him into a downward spiral that sees him fired from his job as a journalist and living on his sister’s charity in the home town...more
Emily St John Mandel has written a fascinating character study of four Florida high students who pursue different but very linked paths. The students are part of a jazz group called the Lola Quartet. Each character and the choices they make are utterly convincing and like any good detective story lead you to a believable and very satisfying ending.
Gavin, the main protagonist leaves for Columbia refusing to admit, even with some solid clues, that Anna his girlfriend could be pregnant. After comm...more
I thought I wasn't going to like this one so much when I first picked it up because I'm not really into crime thriller, but I didn't realize that it wasn't really a crime thriller. There's crime and thrills, but this book has a lot more depth than that. I actually thought there was some pretty damn fine writing inside. I have to say, I got into it.
Robbins Library
Part recession novel, part Florida weirdness, part high school flashback, and part suspense, The Lola Quartet is an interesting book. "The Lola Quartet" refers to four high school friends who played music together: Gavin, Jack, Daniel, and Sasha. Except for Gavin, high school might have been these characters' highest point, and once Gavin loses his relationship and his job as a reporter in New York and returns to Florida to live with his sister, he joins the other three in a sad state. What ties...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chelsea (CrackABook)
I loved it!!! It was a gripping story from start to finish! Look out for my blog post coming soon!! :D
Marci -  Serendipitous Readings
read this over the last 2 days, very interesting, I was very intrigued
A satisfying read although it was darker than I expected
“How often do you get to lose everything and start all over again?” ~ The Lola Quartet

When we meet him at the beginning of The Lola Quartet, Gavin Sasaki has, indeed, lost everything. His wife has left after having a miscarriage, he’s been fired from his job as a journalist for fabricating people and quotes, and he’s been evicted from his apartment.

“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...more
Dan Rimoldi
I'm a pretty big fan of Emily. That really shouldn't surprise anyone due to her ability to combine literary fiction and noir together. These are the types of things that appeal to my interests. Her work reminds me of Dan Chaon, who is one of my favorite writers. Like Chaon's brilliant Await Your Reply, Mandel's book is structured beautifully and has plenty of suspense, thus making it a hard one to put down.

Mandel's prose is always good but the characters here are what I especially loved. Their i...more
Actually 4.5/5 Stars

I can still recall the first two books written by Emily St. John Mandel and it was with eagerness I awaited her third book, The Lola Quartet. My longing was quickly rewarded as I received this book as an early review book and I eagerly sat down with it. The Lola Quartet is exceptionally written, which is what I have come to except from Emily St. John Mandel. She offers the readers a narrative, which takes on a life and becomes a part of the reader, in this case having this re...more
This is the third published novel for Emily St. John Mandel from British Columbia, Canada. She has chosen the southern city of Sebastian, Florida as setting for a story of disappointment and poor choices. The main characters were in a quartet in high school when music was an important part of their lives. We follow the character, especially Gavin Sasaki, who after graduating from college, moved to New York and fulfilled his dream of being a reporter on the New York Star. We find him after his fi...more
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 soo...more
Taken from my blog at

I hadn't read anything by this author before but had heard good things, so I was excited when I had the opportunity to read Emily St. John Mandel's latest... especially when I realized it takes place mostly in Sebastian, Florida. I grew up in southern central Florida and spent time as a kid at Sebastian, specifically Sebastian Inlet. And I rarely see anywhere around here used as a location in a novel.

The Lola Quartet tells the story of four high sc...more
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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...more
More about Emily St. John Mandel...
Station Eleven Last Night in Montreal The Singer's Gun Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books

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