Author(s): Elizabeth Smither
Lola Dearborn marries into Dearborn & Zander, a family of funeral directors, when she falls for Sam Dearborn at a dance. But when Sam, and her friend Alice Zander, injured in a freak accident, die, Lola devotes the rest of her life to exploration. She takes up residence in an art-deco hotel, she befriends the members of the Sylvester Quartet after gate-crashing a rehearsal. She reflects on the different kinds of love offered by men: Luigi the Italian undertaker who buries a dog with its owner, and Charles the retired surgeon with his disruptive daughter, Brandy. Lola's themes underpin an exploration of love and death (including pet cemeteries), music and friendship. Set between Australia and New Zealand, it is a story both acute and amusing, knowledgeable and questing - much like Lola herself.
Elizabeth Smither has twice won the major award for New Zealand poetry and was the 2001-03 Te Mata Estate Poet Laureate. In 2004 she was awarded an honorary D Litt by the University of Auckland, and an MNZM.