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Lola, California: A Novel Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 5, 2011
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“This gorgeous, audacious novel goes far beyond a story of two girls, though. Lana and Rose grew up in Berkeley, California in the 1980s, and the book is as much about that town and the millennial Northern California zeitgeist as any character. Meidav is harrowingly precise in her descriptions of the place . . . Lola, California is a startling novel, as prodigiously smart as it is technically proficient. Her characters may be narcissistic zeligs, but Meidav is an American original.” —Anne Trubek, The Daily Beast
“In the tightly written Lola, California, Edie Meidav explores the concept of personal choice through the story of a polemical scientist/author, his Feminist-theorist wife, their daughter, and the daughter’s best friend . . . But it’s Meidav’s unusual prose that is the star of this book. Her style is sculptural; she chips away at the text, dispensing with unnecessary words and punctuation, making even the longer sentences punchy and rhythmic. And in the same way that the characters all dance around the main issues, Meidav’s writing evokes a linguistic rope-a-dope.” —The Hipster Book Club
“A decades-old murder in New Age-inflected Berkeley forces a reunion between two high-school best friends in Edie Meidav’s textured, disquieting third novel. Lola, California plumbs the rise and fall of a friendship, finding its terrifying resonance for the adults it produced.” —Ellen Wernecke, The AV Club
“Poignant . . . Brilliantly evoking the millennial shadows that haunt its California setting and rich with humor and heartache, it’s one of the most arresting and thought-provoking books of the season.” —The Barnes & Noble Review
“[Meidav’s] greatest gift in this novel is the element of surprise, which is a common trait among the best thriller writers but is more difficult to hatch in an artful social novel. Meidav creates a beautiful and true picture of female friendship, but as if that were not enough, she also keeps us guessing about who her characters really are, and how much weight their evaluations of each other actually hold.” —Liz Colville, The Daily
“Meidav succeeds brilliantly in creating an authentic friendship between Lana and Rose, one that is messy, captivating, and durable. The Lolas are their most powerful testament to each other, and to the writer herself.” —Michelle Koufopoulos, The Faster Times
“An intimate and lyrical look at the choices that bind friends and family together, yet also push them apart.” —Roni K. Devlin, Shelf Awareness
Brilliant . . . awesome.--Publisher's Weekly
Meidav is a rare thing, a less than well known writer who continues to publish big, dense, challenging novels with a major press. Should Meidav be better known? Almost definitely.
--The Millions, Most Anticipated Books of 2011
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Lola will appeal to readers across the reading spectrum. To the escape reader, it's a riveting story. To the literary scholar it's grist for theory, with its unique narrative tensions, plot lines that seem like sets of July 4th streamers shot off in all directions as if the text is saying, "This is important for the way it ends; trace this arc to where it began because that's important too." And sometimes the other way around.
And there's a pure sensual pleasure here just in the language itself. Semantically rich and syntactically disciplined, Meidav's prose alchemizes elements of memoir, allegory, slipstream, realism, and narrative poetry into fluent, liquid gold, a book to linger over and savor.
A word of caution: Don't start reading if you have something important to do. You'll never get to it.
Lola, California has much in common with Meidav's previous novel, Crawl Space. In a manner highly-implicating, exploring aspects of consciousness, choice and history, these books tackle a major topic: How do we become who we become? We make our choices - and then our choices make us. And then what? Or what then?
Crawl Space's topic provided more distance: the moral ambiguity of mid-level Vichy bureaucrats.
Lola, California brings the story closer in time and place, exploring the life of a Berkeley professor with a cult following, his family, a close friend of the man's daughter, all cutting through time - largely from the `70s and `80s to the present day.
In the manner of such works as Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom, this is not merely history, but history-as-process. The mood, the texture, the feel and emotional power of Lola, California is distinct, harrowing and crystal-clear.