Lola, California

Finalist for the Northern California Book Award

Included in The Millions' Great 2011 Book Preview

The year is 2008; the place, California. Vic Mahler, famous for having inspired cult followers in the seventies, serves time on death row, awaiting his execution in ten days. For years, his daughter, Lana, has been in hiding, but her friend Rose, a lawyer, is determined to bring the two together. Yet when Rose succeeds in tracking down Lana at a California health spa, the pair must negotiate land mines of memory in order to reconcile the past and face their futures. A story infused with pathos and wit, insight and lyricism, Lola, California "matches metaphoric wit with an American state that defies summary....A hypnotic and suspenseful tale, tightening toward an irresistible end" (Elizabeth Rosner, author of The Speed of Light).

“In this intense and tumultuous tale, Meidav adeptly limns the dark and sinuous obsessions of friendship with penetrating insights.” —Booklist

“A psychedelic spiraled-out mystery.”—The Onion A.V. Club

Press and Reviews

"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


“A meditation on the grand themes of motherhood, redemption, and choice… It’s both dreadful and awesome, brilliant… thought-provoking in its depiction of a dysfunctional family—indeed a dysfunctional American state.”

—Publisher’s Weekly


“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


"Lola, California is a powerful, innovative and lyrical American novel. To read it is to enter a rich territory — the landscape of memory and choice."

-- Joel Drucker, The Huffington Post


“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


"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."

—Karen Russell


"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, MostlyFiction


"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

“Edie Meidav treats the West Coast's counter-culture and the lives of young women with a rare steely regard, and does so in prose as faceted and illuminating as a flashing diamond. It's that artistry, and the wisdom of her novel, which makes the story's shocking conclusion all the more profound.”

—Oscar Villalon

“Tears open the heart of friendship and the counterculture as well as the meaning of both, yesterday and today. A page-turner in the moment; a thought-provoker that lingers in the mind.”

—Meredith Maran, author of A Theory of Small Earthquakes

More Resources for Lola, California

Lola-inspired musical collaboration with Kevin Salem

Book Notes: Edie Meidav (Largehearted Boy)

Talking Covers: Lola, California

Excerpt: The Body is Still Warm (Guernica)

Excerpts: New Fiction & New Summer Reading (Em & Lo)

Accolades for Edie Meidav and Other East Bay Authors (Berkleyside)

Arts Highlights 2011: New York Critics, Writers Weigh In (WNYC)

The Nutty Professor (Entropy)