Emily St. John Mandel's latest novel is The Lola Quartet. From her Q & A with Caroline Leavitt:
I loved the jazz motif that plays throughout the novel. How do you come by your knowledge of jazz?Learn more about the book and author at Emily St. John Mandel's website.
Thanks. I studied piano for years as a child and teenager, but I never played jazz and I still don't feel like I know that much about it, to tell you the truth. There's a gypsy jazz guitarist who plays a regular set at a club about a block from my apartment, so I've spent a lot of time listening to him. I've also read some Whitney Balliett; he was a writer who chronicled the New York jazz scene of a few decades ago, and I liked reading about those musicians. Once I knew that gypsy jazz guitar music would be a part of the book, I spent some time reading about the life of Django Reinhardt.
Loyalties shift, things are not what they seem, and it all builds to an ending that left me thunderstruck--the kind of "never ending story" ending that I love, that made me continue to wonder about these characters' lives. Did this ending surprise you as you were writing it?
The whole story surprised me. I never know where any book I start writing is going to go. I just start writing and hope for the best. I'm glad you liked the ending… it was the hardest thing in this book to get right. I must have rewritten it a dozen times. It hasn't been a universally popular ending, but...[read on]
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