Last week over at Necessary Fiction I wrote about Emily St. John Mandel’s most recent novel, The Lola Quartet (Unbridled Books, 2012). This is a carefully scripted story with a large cast and some very interesting commentary on how youthful mistakes can haunt a person’s life. Mandel has a simple but elegant style that suited the novel’s sometimes difficult subject matter. I’ve never read Mandel before and really enjoyed discovering her writing. I’m also curious now if she always writes as she did in The Lola Quartet, or if some of her style came about as a reflection of the way she incorporated elements of literary noir into the novel. On to read her first two novels as soon as I get a chance.
Here is a small excerpt from my review:
Like any good homage to literary noir, The Lola Quartet deals in suspense. From the opening chapter with Anna waiting for help on a playground while that dangerous wad of cash hangs heavy and toxic from the bottom of her infant baby’s stroller, to the final “handoff” with its complicated moral implications, The Lola Quartet cultivates the reader’s sense of dread. These characters, mostly vulnerable to us for their relative youth and precarious lifestyles, move through different levels of danger. They are all at-risk from the dangers of the self as well as from various perpetrators of exterior menace.
Read the full review here.