A Moment's Worth
on Aug. 30, 2014
This is an intricate book with many interweaving characters, and events that span different time periods and cities. Lola does a marvelous job of creating unique character interactions: much of the book focuses on what happens when two strangers meet, or when two characters meet another person or group. For that reason, it's reminiscent of Mari and Tetsuya in Murakami's After Dark. Lola is an expert at using the tactic of delayed discovery: we are often introduced to one or two characters at a time, but don't understand their connection to others until much later in the book. After reading the book and having a bird's eye view of all the characters, you feel like you're looking at an immersive world like the TV show Lost or Thornton Wilder's Our Town.
The variety of characters is impressive: Melanie, who can hear heartbeats; Nick, a struggling songwriter who may have just caught a big break; Baleia, a mysterious masseuse; and many more. There are a number of multiracial and Asian American characters, making this one of the few novels that accurately reflects the reality of our current diversity. The book is peppered with references to its main settings of present-day Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Lola has written an entertaining, engaging novel that is fun to read and experience along with the characters. If you've ever people-watched, wondered what the lives of strangers might be like, or thought about how people are interconnected, you'll feel right at home in this book.