Django Reinhardt was a prodigy at thirteen playing the cafés of Paris. A burn victim at eighteen when he came home from a gig and knocked over a candle in the caravan where he lived with his young wife. The materials for the celluloid-and-paper flowers she made to supplement their income were highly flammable, and the caravan flashed quickly into flame. A small miracle at twenty, when he emerged from a long convalescence after the fire that ruined half his left hand and revealed an improbable new technique: he worked the frets with two fingers and made his own substitutions for the standard major and minor chords. The miracle was that he played better after the fire than before. He carried the fire with him through all the days of his life, in his two curled fingers and in the way he used a match to hold the bridge of his battered guitar up to the proper height.
— Emily St. John Mandel, from The Lola Quartet