Short fiction with a nonfiction coda
KINGDOM OF THE YOUNG [STARRED REVIEW from Kirkus Reviews]
A probing and deeply ruminative cross-genre odyssey.Meidav (Lola, California, 2012, etc.) pulls readers through a series of dreamy, complex, poignant stories with language that is by turns gauzy-poetic and pinpoint-precise but unfailingly inventive. Divided into three sections of short fiction, "Believers," "Dreamers," and "Knaves," the book ends with a coda of two touching and philosophically expansive essays, which, by their curious inclusion, stand as tacit commentary on the membranes of varying thickness and toughness between the fictive and the "real"; the permeability of each to the other. In the first of the two, "Questions of Travel," Meidav recalls, among other things, a visit to Parc Güell in Barcelona, which greatly diverged from both the memory of a previous visit and from the glittering image of a postcard that inspired the trip at hand. The story picks at a thread that runs throughout the tales that precede it, of the disparity between perception and memory and experience, between gloss and exegesis, image and analysis. In "Quinceañera," Meidav dives deep into the complications and bittersweetness of the decline and demise of a passionate childhood friendship, the messiness and roving loyalties of youth, exploring the disappointments and stagnation of the now-grown narrator, the entanglements of responsibility, and "how blame alone can basically embalm you for life." In "The Buddha of the Vedado," a young woman waits for her charismatic boyfriend to get out of prison so they can marry and start a family, amid other deprivations of latter-day Cuba. In another, "Beef," a Southern swindler who supports his cancer-stricken mother invades unsuspecting people's homes, forcing freezers full of meat upon them and quickly extracting payment, until a couple he's marked as easy targets swoops down in an act of retribution like the hand of Flannery O'Connor herself. A penetrating collection that glides among an impressive breadth of storytelling modes with warmth and easy brilliance.
This astonishing book offers us so many memorable characters who are real in such surprising ways. This is a book which unpeels its many layers with grace, searching intelligence, and deep empathy. The surprises here do not feel manufactured in the usual literary ways but rather reveal themselves to us suddenly, with the natural clarity of truth.
—Sharon Guskin, author of The Forgetting Time
Ambitious, original, deliciously philosophical. Kingdom of the Young invites comparison to the crônicas of Clarice Lispector and the fabulas of Italo Calvino.
—Carolyn Cooke, author of Daughters of the Revolution
In every single bit of Meidav’s work, the prose is dazzling. Reading Kingdom of the Young, I was often reminded of two of my favorite writers, Nabokov and Gass.
- Rene Steinke, author of Friendswood and Holy Smoke
These stories are dazzling, full of knowledge of the world and of the heart, and written with the pluck and thrum of a flamenco guitarist. Meidav draws you into world after world; she makes you want to sit by your window and listen all night.
—Paul La Farge, author of Luminous Airplanes
The kingdom of the young. Oh what imagination. Oh what story-telling. What beautiful language. What more do you want? Go ahead and be greedy like me. Meidav, a prose stylist of the first rank, has got us covered.
--Mitchell S. Jackson, author of The Residue Years
An alchemist of empathy, of nuanced observation and unexpected truths, Edie Meidav is a writer whose every magical story probes human experience from triumphs to tragedies and all the terrain between. Kingdom of the Young is nothing short of masterful, the work of a born storyteller in full, glorious voice.”
—Bradford Morrow, author of The Forgers
In Kingdom of the Young, whether Edie Meidav riffs on Cuban dogs or ‘a tiny pert woman in a cherry tracksuit’ called Hummingbird, she unfurls a mean sentence. ‘Look at a soldier’s face in one of those moments you don’t want to remember and then you know exactly what lacking imagination looks like,’ Meidav writes in “Catullus.” A collection of surprises, with a sparkling nonfiction coda.
—Terese Svoboda, author of Live Sacrifice
I loved this book. Her stories and essays make a whole—a brilliant pairing, each part informing the other, with mutual gravitas and depth. There are two Edie Meidavs here and I love them both.
—Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions
Edie Meidav’s writing is a cascade of fireworks. Her ideas are little bombs—and these stories, fast-spinning sparklers. Her hallucinatory prose flares with color and heart.
—Leela Corman, author of Unterzakhn
Kingdom of the Young will engage readers for its clear authority, musical language and surprising empathy.
—Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure and Super Sad True Love Story
In this intense and tumultuous tale, Meidav adeptly limns the dark and sinuous obsessions of friendship with penetrating insights.
"When you get down to it, no one ever sees anyone truly," says Vic Mahler, former college professor/charismatic leader and current Death Row inmate. "Tell me I'm wrong." This fabulous follow-up to Meidav's "Crawl Space" plunges us headlong into the blind spot where loved ones lose sight of one another. Meidav is deeply wise about people, with an uncanny, near-clairvoyant empathy for a wild range of characters. Her forensics of the first love between two teenagers, the Lolas, will ring true to everyone who has ever visited the turbulent dreamland of California, or come of age in tandem with a best friend. Music pulses through every line of Meidav's seductive, feverishly beautiful novel.
Contrary to the suggestive cover, title, and product description, this will not appeal to fans of chick lit or genre suspense thrillers. This is more in tune with Martin Amis or Salman Rushdie, with a peppering of TC Boyle and Dan Chaon. Muscular, sweat-producing, and erudite, the satisfaction of reading these pages rests on the reader's consent to capitulate control of predetermined ideas and conceptions and enter into a contract with the author, giving Meidav permission and authority to rule the aesthetic jurisdiction, and to accede to the flow, command, and demand of its prose.
- Betsey van Horn
Edie Meidav makes sentences perform like a snake charmer's snakes in this meditation on friendship, parenthood, and of course California.
-- Luc Sante
Edie Meidav's LOLA,CALIFORNIA captures an entire era of complex America, a swath of cultural time, with such amazing detail and crisp observation, even as she plumbs the depths of what it is to be a daughter, a friend, a profound searcher.
– Bradford Morrow
A clock-ticking thriller and a maximal social novel.
—San Francisco Weekly
Meidav captures the self-indulgence of adolescent friendship and the tension underlying familial bonds, languidly teasing out the surprising secrets of the past.
-- The New Yorker
SHORT FICTION w/ a NONFICTION CODA OUT APRIL, 2017 WITH SARABANDE
Kingdom of the Young - collection of fiction/nonfiction, 2017, by Sarabande Books
April 4, Oblong Books, Rhinebeck
April 5, Bard College Written Arts
April 6, UMass Amherst MFA Visiting Writers Series
April 11, Slought Foundation, Philadelphia
April 12, Center for Fiction with Dana Johnson
April 13, McNally Jackson with Cal Morgan
April 15-20 San Francisco Bay Area
Teaching long-term in the UMass Amherst MFA for Poets and Writers program
A judge for the NBCC Leonard, Juniper, Howard, PEN/Bingham prizes
Taught summer 2016 Writers Workshop at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers
NBCC blog - Second Thoughts series, curated by Dan Akst- on Catcher in the Rye
'On the Mourning After' in LitHub
'Romance' in the fall 2015 issue of Conjunctions
'King of Bubbles' in the spring 2015 issue of The Common
Cuban and Latin American fiction: "The Buddha of the Vedado", "Dog's Journey" and "From the Dung Beetle's Perspective" in recent or upcoming issues of Conjunctions
Nonfiction "Cuba+Kids-Water" and "The Dead Ones" in recent issues of Zyzzyva
Abe's Penny, Brooklyn-based literary journal distributed via postcards: 4-part piece published in conjunction with photography
Interview with Leela Corman for The Millions