Trent Dalton, one of Australia’s most popular authors, is back with Lola in the Mirror, his most unique and heart-hugging book yet. It follows the exploits of a 17-year-old girl and her mother who have been on the ‘lam’ (run) for sixteen years, from police and the monster they left in their kitchen with a knife in his throat.
The girl has no name because names are dangerous when you’re on the run. But the girl has a dream. A vision of a life as an artist of international acclaim. A life outside the grip of the Brisbane underworld. A life of love with the boy who’s waiting for her on the bridge that stretches across a flooding, deadly river. A life beyond the bullet that has her name on it.
And now that the storm clouds are rising, there’s only one person who can help make her dreams come true. That person is Lola and she carries all the answers. But to find Lola, the girl with no name must first do one of the hardest things we can ever do. She must look in the mirror. This is an intimate and confronting story and Dalton doesn’t shy away from any of it.
Each chapter begins with a startling line drawing, ostensibly by the artist of the story, accompanied by a description that sets up the tension and the pathos of her tale.
Dalton writes from the heart, and that’s why this book hits so hard. It’s honest writing: nothing fancy in the words yet the way Dalton weaves sentences is absolute magic. His is a distinct voice that rose from a journalist’s eye for detail to capture readers with books like Boy Swallows Universe, All Our Shimmering Skies and Love Stories.
At the centre of this beautiful novel is Dalton’s big heart in words. He writes with whimsy grit, joy, and the punch of a nameless young woman’s struggle. Lola in the Mirror is a crime story, it’s a story about art, and it’s also a story about the housing crisis and the growing number of homeless women fighting for their families. Ultimately, though, this is a love story full of unforgettable characters. This is what fans of Dalton have come to love him for – the joy he finds in telling stories. Lola in the Mirror is a must-read.