Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Lola, California"

Edie Meidav is the author of The Far Field: A Novel of Ceylon and Crawl Space. Winner of a Lannan Fellowship, a Howard Fellowship, the Kafka Prize for Fiction by an American Woman, and the Bard Fiction Prize, she teaches at Bard College.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Lola, California, and reported the following:
May I just say this whole premise is a brilliant concept? Readers probably come to this web site as either Hedgehogs or Foxes, ready either to dig in or frolic about, and something about the query satisfies my inner hedgehog (allowing me the joy of close reading along with the simultaneous, welcome defamiliarization of a book I know now all too well) while saluting some essential randomness in all such premises à la the true fox.

So the happiness of the query aside, my book’s page sixty-nine? Does it represent the book? Given the above paragraph, would aleatory forces let me say no? So yes she said yes it does: this page is the entire book's fulcrum! (As Salvador Dali is reputed to have said, awaking from a drug-induced shamanic journey in the Perpignan train station: Perpignan is the center of the world! which immediately became a flowery mosaic emblazoned for posterity on the walls of the same station in much the same self-flogging way I am now declaring page 69 to be the center of the known universe of Lola.) Why 69, however?

Here on this page you find a central familial charade: the scene explores both uneasy camaraderie and motherhood. Added bonus: you stumble upon the one word I am sure I have used in every novel I have or will ever write (“hirsute”). If that doesn’t get a novel’s hair growing, what does? Not to mention the bigger stuff: i.e., Christ.

Finally, here you find Q-tips, a crucial symbol of balancing, agency, penetration, domesticity, aspiration, the centrality of neurological safety, items meant for babies being abducted by adults, and, finally, the potential loss of selfhood into larger dictates about conformity. If these themes do not sum up Lola, California, what else would?
Learn more about the book and author at Edie Meidav's website, blog, Facebook page and Twitter perch.

Writers Read: Edie Meidav.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue