Lola Bensky
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Lola Bensky

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  305 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Lola Bensky is a nineteen-year-old rock journalist who irons her hair straight and asks a lot of questions. A high-school dropout, she's not sure how she got this job - but she's been sent by her Australian newspaper right to the heart of the London music scene a the most exciting time in music history: 1967.
Drawing on her own experience as a young journalist, the bestsel...more
Paperback, 1st, 267 pages
Published September 2012 by Hamish Hamilton
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As a brunette, fringed 19-year-old music fanatic, I presumed this book would tick all of my boxes. Sadly, I was quite wrong. I hate to write negative reviews (esp of Australian authors) but I have to be honest and say that I really don't like Brett's writing. Not one bit. This novel is about a young woman interviewing some of the world's biggest and best musicians at the height/beginning of their fame. Sounds great, but her voice comes across as clunky, detached and basic and I struggled to conn...more
I only gave this book 2 stars because its written about an era and a community of musicians that I adore. The writing itself is fairly good but the character of Lola Bensky is dull, indecisive, annoying,self-loathing, green, unintelligent, unconfident, unconvincing, ignorant and woeful.
I feel that Lily Brett has tried to re-imagine something along the lines of Kerouac's On The Road, from a meek Australian female perspective, and failed miserably.
Throw in some graphic depictions of world war two...more
This started off well. Initially I quite enjoyed it. The interviews with the celebrities were interesting and I figured since Lily was herself a journalist, maybe they were based on real ones. Having read some of the other reviews for this, it seems that this is not the case and they are fictional. I am a little too young to know most of them, but had of course heard of the majority. I enjoyed what I thought was an insight into them.
The main problem I had was that we don't really get to know Lol...more
Amanda Apthorpe
While it took me a little while to adapt to Lily Brett's writing style, ultimately I was fully engaged with the character of Lola Bensky. A little more than 'based' on her own experience as a rock journalist in the 1960s, Brett imbues Lola with wonderful warmth, humour and her self-effacing attitude is very endearing. Of course, the entree into the personal world of the 60s Rock Greats adds to the interest of this novel, but more than that, it is Lola's inner turmoil as she tries to come to grip...more
I'm disappointed to say that I have nothing good to say about this book. Why would anyone want to read a book about a woman who, rather than talk about her incredibly interesting career; or her travels; or the amazing people that she has interviewed and hung out with, chooses instead to write about how fat her thighs are? Lola doesn't seem to have any passion for music, or anything really. It's almost as if she just stumbled into the music industry. Her mother is so hateful that I didn't even ha...more
Melinda Elizabeth
I can't say I enjoyed this very much. A made up journo having made up conversations with famous rock stars hold tick all the boxes, but all Lola does is obsess over false eyelashes, WWII atrocities and diets. The middle of the book inexplicably zoomed far into the future for no discernible reason, then again bafflingly back to the 60's for some of the conclusion. Reading this book in Lola's narrative is like a monotonous, muffled ongoing noise that you can't quite figure out.
Esther Rivers
For someone who claims to have music journalism experience, they might have wanted to do a little more research into the life and times of 'swingin' London' in the 60s. The depictions of these characters feel like Brett researched them once or twice on Wikipedia-for anyone with the slightest bit of musical knowledge or love of rock 'n' roll, this story is insulting. Does the author really think this is believable? Is the target audience young teenagers? Does every move that Lola (a most narcissi...more
What an absolute disappointment of a book I was so looking forward to reading! I felt there was no real point to the book, nothing exciting or dramatic happened to Lola that encouraged me to read on. The character of Lola was one which I could not connect with, possibly due to the fact that I am neither Jewish nor overweight. Frequently the book bored me as I was met with repetition that seemed to drag on. The endless list of celebrities Lola interviews each come with their own description into...more
Steve lovell
Whatever became of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich?
They had been long gone from my grey matter until Lily Brett’s book bought back a memory of forty plus years ago. For a nano-second, despite their ridiculous appellation based on the member’s nicknames, they were the hottest band on the planet with monster hits such as ‘The Legend of Xanadu’ and ‘Bend It’ – the latter being banned in the Bible Belt for its saucy lyrics. In my formative years of musical appreciation I’d purchased these two s...more
Lola Bensky is probably one of the more surprising novels I’ve read in a long time. Lily Brett, who is quite famous in her native Australia, has certainly won a new fan in this here blogger. What at first glance would seem to be simple little tale about a girl interviewing all the famous rockstars of the 1960s and 1970s, turned out to be an unexpectedly poignant exploration of a generation from a completely unique point of view.
See my full review here:
I think I would actually give this 3.5 stars, but there's no option for that. I can't really work out how I feel about this book. I guess I think that there was so much more that could have been explored regarding Lola's late teens/twenties (which the majority of the book focused on), and that the chapters that were based in her forties and sixties didn't mean that much to me. Skipping twenty, or forty years ahead allows you to see how the character turns out, but there also wasn't a lot detaili...more
I quite loved this. I tell you, know just know when you are in the hands of a truly clever, talented writer. This is intelligent, swirling, beautifully constructed writing and just like when you watch, I don't know, an athlete execute the perfect play and they make it look easy ... well this is the written equivalent. Lola Bensky is a great character. The back-blurb is a little misleading, I was expecting a comedic romp thru hip London, New York & LA circa 1967 but there's more to this than...more
This is a quick, light and easy read but I do have some qualms.

Admittedly, what first attracted me to this book was the cover (we all judge a book by its cover every now and then). It shows a twenty-something girl with thick, long eyelashes and has that “retro” 50s, 60s look. I love fashion and style from that time and I had to pick this book up because of that. Then I read the description. It had lots of familiar names: Jimi Hendrix, Mama Cass, Monterey Pop Festival. As a music lover, especial...more
Bree T
Lola Bensky has what many would consider a dream job. She’s just 19 years old and she travels through London and America interviewing up and coming rock stars for an Australian publication. It’s the rise of rock n roll and Lola has been chasing down the likes of Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Cher and Mama Cass, talking to them about their music, their lives and their dreams. Mick Jagger makes her a cup of tea and debates word meanings with her, Jimi Hendrix possibly propositions her a...more
Lola Bensky to Jimi Hendrix: “I think I’m organised because my parents’ lives were so disordered, disarranged and deranged. . . . In the death camps, the rules changed from minute to minute. Everything was unpredictable. My mother said you never knew what to expect.”

Lola Bensky interviews celebrities (Hendrix, Mick Jagger, Sonny, Cher, Twiggy, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Mama Cass, Janis Joplin,and others) by hooking them with revelations from her own family history.

There are moments when Lily B...more
When Lilly Brett was quite young, she got a job with Go-Set, which was the first Australian rock/pop newspaper. Go-Set came out of a group who worked at Monash Uni on Lot’s Wife. While Lily had no formal training as a journalist she was given quite a lot of opportunities, including going to Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, just as her fictional character, Lola Bensky does. At the time, she says that an experienced journo gave her some advice: “Always start with a good line.”

This novel opens with “...more
This Charming Mum
It’s 1967. London is swinging and California is dreaming as some of history’s most formidable music artists take to the world stage. Overweight high-school drop-out Lola Bensky has every 19 year old’s dream job as a journalist for Rock-Out magazine. She leaves her anxious Jewish immigrant parents in Melbourne and heads overseas to chat with the likes of Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison and Cher. As she quizzes them about their lives, she develops a deeper understanding of her own unique upbringing as t...more
To think that I might never have picked up this book if I hadn’t received a preview copy from the publisher – what a loss that would have been! Lola Bensky is, as Lola herself may have said, a “smashing” book. Insightful, thought provoking and deeply moving, told in Lola’s fresh and innocent voice, it is one of the most original books I have read all year.

Lola Bensky is a young journalist in the 1960’s, travelling the world and interviewing young up-and-coming rock stars for an Australian music...more
I love Brett's writing style it is concise and to the point. I love how this novel jumps backwards and forwards in time but with Brett's skill you always know where you are. I also love how in the first three or four pages so much is subtly revealed about Lola. There is a great deal to like about this book.

We meet Lola as a 19 year old Australian Rock journalist who is in England meeting a whole host of famous people. While this would dazzle most people, Lola takes it all in her stride. She arr...more
As I read this book I went through periods where it had me, then it dragged for a while, then it got me again and finally it petered out.

Interesting storyline of a young Australian journalist interviewing the famous rock stars of the 70s just as their careers were taking off. In all her interviews, Lola Bensky seemed to be taking more of her weight problems and her parents experiences at Auschwitz than getting material for her magazine.

Lola has self doubts, she is fat, she grapples with understa...more
The year is 1967, and young Lola Bensky has arrived in London to interview a series of famous rock stars for Australian magazine Rock-Out. The book opens with Lola and a very gentile Jimi Hendrix chatting about weight and hair curlers, and continues through a series of interviews with superstars like Mick Jagger, Twiggy, and Pete Townshend to name just a few.

There’s something rather compelling about Lola’s character. Perhaps it’s her wide-eyed innocence, which doesn't seem to diminish as she ge...more
I was hoping for more from this book after reading the blurb on the cover, so was a tad disappointed with the turn the story took.

I enjoyed the parts written about the 60's music industry, but there was nothing a quick Google could not have turned up.

Somehow the word 'schizophrenic' kept coming to me - I felt the book didn't really seem to know what its main aim was, there I have said it, I was hoping for some good juicy titbits from the 60's music industry, and ended up with a book about somet...more
Tanja Laden
Lola Bensky is Lily Brett's fictionalized account of her own life as a young Australian music journalist covering rock-and-roll's most news-making era: the late '60s. Just like the book's title character, Brett is the daughter of Holocaust survivors, and early struggle with her weight marked her young-adult years while she tried desperately to understand the formidable horrors of World War II. In the book, Lola Bensky's dark inner thoughts are juxtaposed against a series of vignettes with colorf...more
I received this novel from NetGalley.

The writing in this novel is its high point, clever writing and engaging dialogue, and that seems to be where the praises end.

This novel seems to follow the life the titles namesake, as a journalist during the turn of the rock and roll century, yet the flashbacks and unnecessary additions to her interviews drag this novel out, and lulls the Reader into a state of "what am I reading?".

The constant reminder that Lola's parents are survivers of concentration ca...more
We're introduced to Lola, an Autralian girl, when she's in her late teens and works for a rock magazine interviewing 1960's rock stars. She was born in a D.P. camp in 1948 in Germany. We follow her life till she's in her 60's and observe how being a 2nd generation Holocaust survivor influences her experiences. An interesting read, definitely worth while.
Bob Schnell
There's a movie called "Good Times, Wonderful Times" that alternates between scenes of a swinging 60's party in London and WWII footage of atrocities. Add a whiny, overweight Jewish music journalist named Lola Bensky and that would be this book. Lola goes to London, New York and California in 1966-67 to interview all the usual suspects (Hendrix,Jagger, Janis, Jimi,Jim Morrison, etc)but spends most of her time thinking about the horrors her parents witnessed at various Nazi death camps and worryi...more
head in the sun
hmmm.....not sure.
I liked bits.
It lacked any real narrative.
Was kinda disjointed.
Didn't really get the whole Schlomo private detective thread.
Loved the insights into the musicians and characters of the 60's music scene. Was interesting to see them painted as real people
Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Mama Cass, Sonny and Cher, Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger - the list goes on. Lily Brett met or came into contact with all these people as a 19 year old writing for the Australian music magazine Go-Set.
Lola Bensky I've always been a fan of Lily Brett. Her writing is sharp, witty, moving and uncompromising. And Lola Bensky is all of this, yet it wasn't one of my favourites. I 'm not even sure why, but it didn't grab me. Most of her novels draw me in, even when I'm despairing at the cruelty of much she writes about. Maybe I just felt too much of this was territory she's already explored and I didn't gain any new insights.
If you haven't read Lily Brett, she is the daughter of Auswitchz survivors...more
I love Lily Brett. Her black humour is extraordinary. Couldn't say enough about all of her books. Must reads all of them
I read this in the original German. The first part of the book was very interesting to me, as it reflected my music interests in my early twenties. I believe Lily Brett had a job in the sixties as an interviewer for a music magazine, much like Lola Bensky, the main character. Although the book is a work of fiction, I was left wondering how much was autobiographical. I was also touched by the experience Lola had as the child of holocaust survivors. I thought Brett did an excellent job of showing...more
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