cover image Lola Bensky

Lola Bensky

Lily Brett. Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $25 (272p) ISBN 978-1-59376-523-1

Brett’s latest novel (following 2006’s You Gotta Have Balls) is a poignant and autobiographical rumination on the inner life of an Australian music journalist named Lola Bensky. Beginning her career in 1967 when she’s 19 years old, she interviews emerging talent like Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger, and Jim Morrison while fixating on being overweight and embarking on a barrage of diets. Lola feels ashamed of her excess pounds because parents Renia and Edek suffered from malnutrition in a German concentration camp during WWII. Although Lola’s career is taking off, she feels like a disappointment to her family, having never graduated from high school; and despite Renia’s intervention, Lola remains heavy. Her survivor’s guilt increases as she grows older, leading to panic attacks when she’s in her 30s. Lola peers into other people’s lives as she hides behind her role as a writer, “seeing how their habits and histories came together to make them who they were.” Brett creates a fascinating portrait of a woman searching for meaning and connections stolen from her family. Agent: Anne Edelstein, Anne Edelstein Literary Agency. (Sept.)