Arts & Events

New Novel from Berkeley Author Edie Meidav

By John A. McMullen II
Tuesday July 12, 2011 - 01:56:00 PM
Author Edie Meidav
Author Edie Meidav

Berkeley-rooted author Edie Meidav’s new novel “Lola, California” comes out July 5th with Farrar Straus to extraordinary praise.  

Meidav will be in Berkeley to read from it at Mrs. Dalloway’s in Elmwood, in Berkeley on July 28, and at A Good Great Place for Books in Montclair on Aug. 5. She will also be reading August 4 at San Francisco’s Book Passage, in conversation with Zyzzyva Editor (and former SF Chronicle Books Editor) Oscar Villalon. 

Here is a sample of some of the praise— 

“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  

“Lola, California --a crazed concatenation that may prove vital when we're all hiding inside with hot and wild dispositions.”-- Ed Champion WNYC Arts Guide 

“In this intense and tumultuous tale, Meidav adeptly limns the dark and sinuous obsessions of friendship with penetrating insights.—Booklist” “Brilliant . . . awesome. --Publisher's Weekly”  

Edie Meidav won the Bard Fiction Prize in 2006. Her “The Far Field: A Novel of Ceylon” (Houghton Mifflin, 2001) won the Kafka Award for best novel by an American woman. “Crawl Space” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) was next in 2005. “I’ve probably written or started 50 novels; I’ve published three. Some of us love to get lost in the forest, some love to plan.” 

“Lola, California” features a magnetic household with a very dark center: when we meet charismatic and brilliant Vic Mahler, he’s on Death Row for killing his wife. His daughter has severed all ties, changing her name and disappearing into a marijuana growers’ community. Her teenage best friend, a foster child who idolized the Mahler clan, races the clock to effect a reunion before Vic’s execution. 

Meidav’s family moved to Berkeley in 1974, during “the buzzkill years” after its countercultural flowering. Mae Meidav, Edie’s mother, is an engineer, sociologist, and playwright; she also bellydanced at the family’s bohemian parties. “My family liked to give shelter to some of the fruits of the counterculture,” Meidav recalls; several classmates moved in to their household, often for long stretches.  

Meidav just came back from months in Cuba. “I was there to research a novel on the idea of a Latin American boxer. I went with my husband Stan Stroh, who is a painter, and our little girls. There were food shortages, water shortages, blackout—not your usual tourist trip.” 

Meidav credits her family for her love of adventure. Her father, Tsvi, who died in September, was born in Poland, raised in Israel, and lived most of his life as a geophysicist for the UN and his own energy-pioneering companies.. “I feel close to his spirit when I’m in motion,” says Meidav. In her essay, “Daughter of California” published at , Meidav explores the charisma of Berkeley, California, and her father. 

Nina Shengold, in Chronogram Magazine, writes, “Lola, California is nothing if not surprising. [The main character] Vic’s psychopathology infects the next generations in unforeseen ways; some of the book’s revelations are gut punches. That many unfold in the echt Californian milieu of a New Age retreat adds to the resonance.” 

(Read Shengold’s interview at

Edie Meidav is a recipient of a Lannan Fellowship and directed the writing program at the New College of California on Valencia Street in San Francisco. Now she is in residence at Bard College (in upstate New York at scenic Annandale-on-Hudson, about 90 miles from NYC) where she teaches creative writing and literature there. 

For more information, you can find Meidav on Facebook, at, or you can view an exciting “book video trailer” of LOLA by clicking 

Ms. Meidav’s Northern California reading schedule: 

July 23, The Gallery/Mendocino with Beth Lisick; 

July 28, Mrs. Dalloways/Berkeley; 

July 30, Four-Eyed Frog/Gualala with Sharon Doubiago; 

August 4, Book Passage/San Francisco with Oscar Villalon; 

August 5, A Great Good Place for Books/Montclair, CA with Carolyn Cooke.