Her Name Was Lola

Overview

"'This is it...this is my destiny woman,' Max blurted out when he first met Lola Blessington at the Coliseum shop. Not only was Lola aristocratic and wild at heart, but the two had discovered an uncanny convergence of musical tastes. Soon they were converging at every level - Lola filling Max's emptiness and vice versa." "But Max had also always craved the recognition of another sort of woman, the sort who had been Homecoming Queen at her high school - just as the tempting Lula Mae Flowers had been back in Texas. Why did Max have to meet Lula Mae ...
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Overview

"'This is it...this is my destiny woman,' Max blurted out when he first met Lola Blessington at the Coliseum shop. Not only was Lola aristocratic and wild at heart, but the two had discovered an uncanny convergence of musical tastes. Soon they were converging at every level - Lola filling Max's emptiness and vice versa." "But Max had also always craved the recognition of another sort of woman, the sort who had been Homecoming Queen at her high school - just as the tempting Lula Mae Flowers had been back in Texas. Why did Max have to meet Lula Mae just when he'd found his destiny woman in Lola? And, what everyone wanted to know was this: if Lola embodied everything Max longed for, how could there be anything left over for Texan ex-Homecoming Queens?" Russell Hoban's hero is a man with a lot of remembering to do once Lola takes revenge by composing a raga of forgetfulness (and this is not something to try at home). In fact Max finds himself in a general quest for the beginnings of things - like a page one for either of the two books he is trying to write, or an answer to why his childhood memories always link Noah's ark with the back of his grandfather's boiler.
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Editorial Reviews

Michael Dirda
… a winsomely endearing love story, tinged with fantasy, and just right for summer … Her Name Was Lola will haunt you as the memory of Lola haunts Max. Besides, it's the rare love story that explores the implications of "form and emptiness" -- which makes it, for that reason alone, all the more wonderful.
The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Hoban (Riddley Walker, etc.) spins a light, wry fantasy about a middle-aged writer's past misdeeds, faltering career and misapprehensions about love. Max Lesser, a writer of "novels that don't sell, children's picture books that do," is on his way to lunch when a smelly dwarf, invisible to all but Max, affixes itself to him. Named Apasmara ("forgetfulness" in Hindu mythology), the dwarf reminds him not to forget his long-lost love, Lola Bessington. Subsequent flashbacks reveal how Max met the youthful, well-to-do Lola at a London record shop and promptly decided that she was his "destiny." Of course, then he quickly enjoys a flirtation with a curvy Texan, Lula Mae Flowers. Both women get pregnant; Lola disappears; and, oh, the battles Max has with his logical mind. He also spars with his protagonist, Moe Levy, whose "Page One" he can't even write, and Charlotte Prickles, the popular hedgehog heroine of his children's series. Meanwhile, Lola, accompanied by her new son Noah, finds enlightenment at a Zen center called Diamond Heart, where she learns to play the sarod and composes a raga that will eventually bring her and her love together again. Hoban's quirky, tender tale progresses in brief chapters and playful leaps to come looping back full circle; some readers will enjoy the journey, while others will find that Hoban's form trumps his content. Agent, Bruce Hunter. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Hoban, author of the classic Frances children's books, offers a black comedy about modern love. Max, a writer struggling with his next novel and meanwhile paying the bills with his children's books starring hedgehog Charlotte Prickles, is torn between two lovers. First, he met Lola, an aristocrat from a British family, and proclaimed her his destiny woman. A few days later, as he and Lola are exploring the National Gallery, he meets Lula Mae, a Texan transplant working in London for a technology company. Suffering from writer's block and the guilt of romancing two women at once, Max argues with himself about the best course of action. Inevitably, he is found out. Lola cannot believe he has been two-timing her and leaves in a hurry. Soon after, Lula Mae, who is pregnant with Max's child, takes off for the States, saying she doesn't need him. Max is left wondering how he managed to get himself into such a mess and how he can win his destiny woman back. This quick read, which is broken into many short chapters and reveals the tale in flashback, should appeal to fans of modern British comic writing. Recommended for public libraries.-Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metro. Lib., OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A quick, droll, pleasantly amusing love story set in London around about now. Max Lesser-like his creator, Hoban (Angelica's Grotto, 2001, etc.)-is a novelist and children's book writer (Max's novels don't sell, though his series about a hedgehog, Charlotte Prickles, does very well), but, seemingly unlike Hoban, he's blocked, long since unable to get "anything that looks like Page One of a new novel" or to get a new hedgehog idea. Then? Well, through the mail slot comes an anonymous CD with a raga on it-and, after Max plays it, things get curiouser and curiouser. Max has a kind of blackout on his way to a lunch date, then is more or less assaulted by an ugly and smelly dwarf who's groveling almost animal-like on the pavement: this dwarf leaps onto Max's back and flattens himself there, tangible and visible to poor Max but not to others. What is he? A visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum and a statue there of Shiva reveals that the dwarf, held down under Shiva's foot (the weight disappears from Max's back as the dwarf slips back under the foot), is Apasmara Purusha, the "dwarf demon called Forgetfulness." Another visit, this time to a kind of prophetess named Grace Kowalski, who's aided by much vodka and another playing of the raga, at last reveals to Max who sent him the CD: Lola Bessington! The reader may be a bit confused as to how Max could ever have forgotten the wonderful Lola, or what her motive really was in sending the raga (she composed the music herself), but there's no confusion at all as bit by bit Max re-remembers Lola, how much they loved each other, and then the awful, awful, contemptible thing he did to her that ended all-until now, and their near-miraculous, no, theirmiraculous reunion. Sophisticated pleasures and a grown-up love story from the estimable Hoban.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559707268
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/28/2004
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Not a Dog, Not a Cat 1
2 Amazing Grace 12
3 When Max Met Lola 20
4 Through the Night 24
5 From Where, From What 28
6 First Date 31
7 So Far, So Soon 34
8 Razor Blades 35
9 Flashes, Flutters, Expectations 38
10 Frank Sinatra, Doris Day 40
11 Blighter's Rock No 42
12 When Claude Met Lula Mae 44
13 When Max's Mind Met Lula Mae 47
14 Research 49
15 The Scent of Lula Mae Flowers 53
16 Doing Their Ching 55
17 How It Was 59
18 The Worst That Could Happen 62
19 A Short Time With Basil 64
20 Girl Talk 67
21 Moe Levy's Burden 69
22 Further Research 73
23 Freying Now? 76
24 Girl Talk 2 78
25 Boy Talk 80
26 Two Little Words 83
27 Ursa Major, Lesser Minor 85
28 Overload 93
29 The Mountains of Ararat 96
30 Phone Talk 99
31 Lola Lola 102
32 Earth Work 104
33 Victorian Attitudes 108
34 Levy Unburdened 111
35 Last Orders 115
36 Forgetfulness Remembered 117
37 Monstrous Virtue 119
38 A Whole New Ball Game 121
39 The Big Store 122
40 Noah? 123
41 No Answer 125
42 Every Hour 127
43 After the Flood 129
44 Synchronicity 131
45 Not a Retreat 134
46 Making It Dark 143
47 Form and Emptiness 144
48 Not So Fast 147
49 Frog Hollow Road 149
50 The New Rucksack 152
51 Joie de Vivre 155
52 More Dark Than Light 158
53 Absent Friend 159
54 Prickles of Memory 160
55 The Vessel Only 162
56 The Enormity 164
57 Kirsty's Fetch 166
58 Boilermakers No 167
59 The Rainbow Sign 170
60 Well, Really, What? 172
61 Victor's First Word 174
62 River in the Mind 175
63 Another Time With Basil 177
64 A Far, Far Better Fantasy 180
65 A Little Bit of No Luck 182
66 Ark of Mystery 184
67 Penelope's Web 185
68 Lolanesses 188
69 'Smriti' 190
70 What Searching Eyes 192
71 Destiny's Dentist 194
72 Philip Nolan Lesser 195
73 Her Name Was What? 198
74 Whatever 201
75 Thank You, God! 204
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