Emily St. John Mandel's third novel, The Lola Quartet, drops the reader into a contemporary Florida suburb, where disgraced newspaper reporter Gavin Sasaki is forced to return to a hometown that is swiftly disintegrating and a past that is not quite ready to receive him.
I suppose the novel will be called a mystery, and it certainly is structured as such. But Mandel's writing includes essences of noir and of the socially conscious novel, and she achieves - through effortless shifts in point of view, and a sparseness that indicates a real sense of sophistication - a highly literary novel.
There is a mystery - what happened to Anna, Gavin's high school girlfriend, who disappeared one summer surrounded by rumors of a pregnancy? If the child exists, is it Gavin's? Why does everyone from Gavin's past seem to know more about what happened than he does? By raising these issues, Mandel...
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