Review of Karmafornia, a novel by NC Weil
by Lorine Kritzer Pergament
From the image of an Indian bedspread print on the cover through the trials and tribulations of the twenty-something main characters, Weil gives us descriptive details of a culturally and politically volatile Berkeley during the late seventies interspersed with national and local current events to weave a colorful and compelling story.
When Laura and her boyfriend Walt are trapped in a snowstorm on their way to Berkeley where Laura is to begin graduate school, they take LSD and “fly together,” becoming mentally and spiritually one. But when they arrive, Laura becomes attracted to Cob, a student in her program, and he convinces her to become a fruitarian and get off the pill to make herself more physically appealing. Outlandish as this may sound in light of the fact that Laura is an independent woman, Cob is convincing, and Laura complies. So begins the love and sex triangle that sets the theme for this rip-roaring book that culminates in a surprise ending.
If you want to reminisce about Berkeley during the period of the Jonestown massacres, the shooting of Harvey Milk, the Dead Kennedys and “Box of Rain” with a hefty dose of drugs and sex, or if you just want a good read about that period, the tightly written and thought-provoking Karmafornia will engross you.
Lorine Kritzer Pergament's stories have appeared in "Bridges" and "Penn-Union," and she was a winner in the 2008 F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Contest. Her story "Smell the Roses on Your Own Time," will be included in "Amazing Graces," Richard Peabody's anthology of Washington area women writers in December, 2011. Lorine also writes book reviews and is a member of the Women's National Book Association's Great Group Reads panel.