Friday, July 20, 2012

Emily St. John Mandel

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?

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]
Learn more about the book and author at Emily St. John Mandel's website.

The Page 69 Test: Last Night in Montreal.

Writers Read: Emily St. John Mandel.

The Page 69 Test: The Singer's Gun.

My Book, The Movie: The Singer’s Gun.

--Marshal Zeringue