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Her Name Was Lola [Hardcover]

Russell Hoban
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: 15.99
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Book Description

3 Nov 2003
'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.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (3 Nov 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747570248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747570240
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 15.4 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,825,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Here is the sense of a master playfully at work' NEW STATESMAN 'Hoban's writing is always a delight - exhilirating and inventive ... a treat to read' DAILY MAIL 'The writing is crisp, the dialogue sharp and offbeat, and Hoban gives us a nudge and a wink by mocking Max's inability to think up new scenarios for his books' THE TIMES 'Lightning strikes on almost every page of HER NAME WAS LOLA' OBSERVER

About the Author

Russell Hoban is the author of many extraordinary novels including TURTLE DIARY, RIDDLEY WALKER, AMARYLLIS NIGHT AND DAY and most recently THE BAT TATTOO. He has also written some classic books for children including THE MOUSE AND HIS CHILD and the FRANCES books. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moe of the same 4 Nov 2003
By A Customer
Far from being a tired book, I think Russell Hoban's latest novel bristles with originality and humour. Sure there are recurrent motifs and characters that have appeared in previous novels but these set the novel in the context of his later "London" works and add to a sense of continuity. Some of the dialogue between Max/his mind: Max/Lola,Lula: Hoban,Max/Moe,Charlotte Prickles is Hoban at his best. The story is essentially one of love and regret with an ending to die for. Read it!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exploring similar themes but in different ways 4 Nov 2003
By A Customer
The late Frank Zappa once said something along the lines of "You either get it or you don't." While 'Lola' certainly explores the intricacies of inter-gender relationships in a similar way to 'Amaryllis Night and Day', 'The Bat Tattoo' and, to a lesser extent, 'Angelica's Grotto', and certainly uses re-occurring Hobanic images in order to do that, there is much here that is treated in entirely new ways. You only have to read the first couple of chapters (which, at the time of writing, you can find excerpted on the Bloomsbury books website) to see that. The language sparkles and there is imagery here you won't find in any other Hoban novels in this form. In the same way, I think, that a great musician re-explores avenues he has traversed before, Hoban is trying to get to the bottom of something it is perhaps not possible to articulate. We have no language for what he is doing, but someone has to try. And no one does it better than Russell Hoban. It's never too early for a large Glenfiddich, but it's far from time to power down the system and turn off the monitor. Lola will take you to places you didn't know exist - provided you let her.
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By Pablo K
A typically strong showing from one of the world's most under-rated novelists. Max meets Lola, falls for her in a big way, and then ruins it all by being a cheating cad. As a consequence, he is set upon by Apasmara Purusha, a freelance Hindu Demon of Forgetfulness, Heedlessness, Selfishness, Ignorance and Materialism. That kind of delightful combination between the everyday and the metaphysical is typical of Hoban and works as well here as in his other works of joyous imagination, whether 'The Medusa Frequency', 'Kleinzeit' or 'The Bat Tattoo'.

This really is a great book. Playful, but with a warm, deep heart. Stocked with little observational gestures but far from obsessed with its own wit and intelligence. Sprinkled with secondary characters that go beyond their caricatures and take on an unsettling life of their own, presences which demand (but do not receive) further attention to themselves. As if they were actual persons.

These are all excellent qualities. So why only four stars? Others have mentioned the recurrence of themes found elsewhere. That is par for the course, but may well distract for those already immersed in the Hoban canon. And for those coming to him for the first time, there are stronger, more compelling, more enchanting works. Works that will not only please and impress, but provoke, disturb and even transform your idea of what fiction can do. If that's what you're after, place your bets on 'Fremder' or 'Riddley Walker', 'Pilgermann' or 'The Bat Tattoo'. Otherwise, this will hardly disappoint.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Time to Pack It In? 31 Oct 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Discerning fans of Hoban's work may well be disappointed with this one: the formula is More of The Same (like the last book and the one before.) It seems Mr Hoban has decided to dispense with his hallmark originality, to the sad loss of those who have bought his books with pleasant anticipation in the past. The characters, treatment, motifs, observations have all been used before. This is a tired book, with little real depth. Perhaps it is unkind to expect a writer who has delivered such wonderful writing in the past to keep on improving, but my sentiments on closing 'Her Name Was Lola' were - "Mr Hoban, you could do so much better." Perhaps it is now time for him to hang up his computer and pour himself a large Glenfiddich.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mmmm.... 24 July 2007
By Ali
Her Name Was Lola is quaint, witty and strange. I love Russell Hoban's flippancy. For me, his books are refreshing and quirky. No whisky jokes here, though plenty of adjectives. Yum yum. :)
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