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Her Name Was Lola (2003)
A Novel by Russell Hoban
The US edition from Aracade Publishing is available through Amazon or your local bookseller. The UK edition of Her Name Was Lola can be ordered from Bloomsbury's own Web site (just search the title or "Russell Hoban"), or via Amazon UK.
Here's the synopsis from the book flap:
'This is it ... this is my destiny woman,' Max blurted out when he first met Lola Bessington 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. This is Russell Hoban at his endearing, captivating best, revealing much along the way about his own creative process and producing the solution to a narrative conundrum that will make his readers say 'Ah.'
You can read the first two chapters of the book online at the Bloomsbury site! (Click the Her Name Was Lola link at the top of the Bloomsbury Russell Hoban page.)
"To me, Russell Hoban's perfectly cadenced, slyly comic prose is ambrosia ... a winsomely endearing love story, tinged with fantasy, and just right for summer ... one cherishes Hoban's casual pictures of the writer's disheveled life."
"This wonderfully funny, refreshing, and compelling love story will grab readers from the moment they meet clueless Max Lesser, a children's book author and somewhat sucessful adult fiction writer who is suffering from a major case of writer's block."
"Hoban apparently wants to see how much outrageous artifice and wilful exposure
of literary technique he can get away with while still working his magic on the
reader. The answer is plenty. Far from being an arid exercise, the novel has
great charm and grace ... and the sense of a master playfully at work.
"Sophisticated pleasures and a grown-up love story from the estimable Hoban."
"Hoban has often been described as a very original writer, which he is, but the epithet tends to marginalise him, encouraging the view that he is only a cult author. This is unfortunate because he is a great novelist and this new novel, set squarely, like the last two, in Hoban-land and Fulham, is a good place to gain access to his unique vision. "
"It is a measure of Hoban's artistry as a story-teller that he spirits away the many obstacles to true love without becoming glib or facile. Her Name Was Lola is a bit wacky at times, but delivered with brio and possessed of an underlying emotional logic. "
ONLINE REVIEWS AND ARTICLES:
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Russell Hoban's other novels and collections: