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Point Dume: A Novel Hardcover – May 27, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Hardcover; 1St Edition edition (May 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590203291
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590203293
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,286,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Arnoldi (The Wentworths) relies on one red-blooded character to conceal that the rest are archetypes in this ripped-from-the-headlines drama. Ellis Gardner is the surfing queen of Point Dume, Calif., feared, lusted after, and envied by the yuppie moms who filter down from the mansions overlooking the ocean to take surfing lessons. Ellis's childhood friend Pablo is the hunky surfing instructor, but he's also been amassing a small fortune finding and robbing small marijuana crops planted by Mexican cartels on the slopes of unsuspecting property owners, then selling his harvest. His current rival for Ellis's affections is one of those absentee owners, Frank, a rich midlife surfing convert who's unaware that his wife is one of Pablo's best customers. Meanwhile, Felix Duarte crosses the Mexican border for the dangerous but lucrative job of guarding one of the secret patches from which Pablo steals. Arnoldi hothouses the concerns of all equally, so Frank's existential crisis ranks as highly as Felix's hunger- and isolation-induced hallucinations up on the ridge and Ellis's unexpected pregnancy. The prose style is spare and powerful and the pages turn effortlessly. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Arnoldi revisits the themes of obsession and amorality that she so skillfully exposed in her previous works (Chemical Pink, 2001; The Wentworths, 2008), this time pitting iconic segments of Southern California’s counterculture against each other in an apocalyptic race for survival. Flinty surfer-chick Ellis’ on-again off-again affair with married vineyard owner Frank is complicated by a surprise pregnancy and her equally unsettled relationship with her childhood best friend, Pablo, now a drug dealer who supplies pot to disaffected housewives, like Frank’s wife, Janice. Stealing from the contraband pot farms operating deep in the canyons, Pablo is captured by Felix Duarte, an illegal immigrant smuggled into the country by the Mexican drug cartel to manage their operation located on the periphery of Frank’s estate. When the Santa Ana winds pick up and a single spark erupts into a conflagration, Mother Nature regains control of the land everyone, save Ellis, has been wantonly abusing. Crisp pacing, caustic characterizations, and acerbic satire inform this darkly comic fable. --Carol Haggas

More About the Author

Katie Arnoldi's literary debut Chemical Pink, set in the competitive world of female bodybuilding, became a surprise bestseller, winning Arnoldi praise from critics and readers alike, The Wentworths too graced the bestseller list. She lives in Southern California with her husband, the painter Charles Arnoldi, and their two children.

Customer Reviews

I was completely enthralled by Arnoldi's latest novel.
Fred in Hollywood
I would have read it all in one night if I hadn't forced myself to get some sleep!
davi strand
I love her style of writing, she is so funny and has such insight.
D. Hatfield

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jen on May 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've read all of Arnoldi's books, and this one is by far the most narrative and - while still maintaining all her depth and literary heft - readable. Her first book, "Chemical Pink," might turn off some with its subculture kink and hard-to-like characters, and the second, "The Wentworths," has a bit of the same (I loved them both, and so do many reviewers and fans, but I can see where others might struggle). With "Point Dume," Arnoldi has painted a broader sweep of the landscape, cross-cutting among diverse stories and characters, with what I think are her first truly sympathetic characters. The narrative arcs are less brief and the worlds more varied, yet they all weave together into a vision of Southern California and, larger still, our global village. It's a beautiful, truthful, page-turning book, and captures Malibu and its denizens, past and present, with a deft, sharp pen. I recommend it highly and am delighted to predict from Arnoldi's growth over the course of her first three novels that she will be one of our important American authors.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on June 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The rest of the world has discovered Point Dume, and that doesn't make 35-year-old Ellis Gardner happy. Not at all. For as long as anyone can remember, Ellis has been the queen of the local surfing scene, the rare female who can keep up with her male counterparts in every way. She still has her private oceanside cottage and her inherited fortune, which means that she'll never have to let work get in the way of her surfing time. But she has lost her view, tarnished now with yuppie mansions and hobby vineyards, "back to the land" projects of disenchanted businessmen like Frank Bane.

Ellis is sleeping with Frank but despises herself for it, even as part of her enjoys the hold she has over him. Meanwhile, Frank's wife Janice, along with a dozen or more women like her, is sleeping with Ellis's friend-with-benefits Pablo, the pot supplier of choice to the area's bored but doped-up housewives. Sound like a dysfunctional community? A recipe for disaster? You'd be right.

Behind all this "Desperate Housewives" meets Blue Crush drama is the drug-growing economy that supplies pot poacher Pablo with his best bud. The Mexican drug cartels, daunted by post-9/11 improvements to border security, have solved that problem by secretly planting acres of marijuana fields in public and private lands throughout the American West, including Frank's own backyard vineyard. The growers pack military-grade weaponry and use industrial-strength pesticides on their crops --- and, by extension, in the nearby ocean.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By davi strand on June 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I discovered Katie Arnoldi when I stumbled across her blog one day and was totally blown away by how brilliant, funny and just plain cool she seemed. I strongly suggest that anyone interested in writing, bats, human rights, books, William Vollmann, scuba diving, tequila, surfing and sex go check it out right away. My favorite of her posts is "MY WEEKEND IN THE HYPERBARIC CHAMBER AND OTHER MISADVENTURES." Need I say more?

Anyway, after reading every word on her website and ordering her last 2 novels (also awesome), I pre-ordered this book despite the fact that I never pre-order books. I'm an immediate gratification kind of person. All I can say is that it was worth the wait. It's a beautiful looking book with both a rocky beach and a pot leaf on the cover, so I am glad to have it in hardcover. And the book is the adventure I hoped it would be. I would have read it all in one night if I hadn't forced myself to get some sleep! The characters are unusual and yet heartbreakingly real, and a couple of them really changed the way I think about things like immigrant rights, the environment, femininity and material possessions. It's rare that a novel with such killer storytelling effect your views like that. I belong to a book club that's always on the hunt for novels that will challenge, entertain and surprise us, and POINT DUME definitely delivers on all levels. I can't wait for us to discuss it at our next meeting!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mistersea on August 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am not as enthusiastic about this book as some of the other readers appear to be, judging by their reviews. Though I enjoyed it to some degree and it was a quick read, it just didn't really come together for me. There are certainly some interesting themes, but I felt the characters were rather thinly drawn and a little one-dimensional. The most poignant theme for me was the sad demise of what once was, by all accounts, a nice little coastal community. Having experienced this first-hand in another coastal town a bit north of the one in the book, I could relate to Arnoldi's description of the slow death of any remnant of authenticity that a place undergoes when surfing becomes the new tennis and property values soar beyond the reach of the lower and middle classes. This contrast of lives lived in Point Dume was the thematic juxtaposition that made the book interesting despite the lack of well-developed or sympathetic characters.
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