There’s a very special kind of American hokum that might be completely unreadable by foreign-born observers. California New Age culture is probably one of them. For one, even to people not from California, there’s something completely bizarre and opaque about it that’s hard to translate even to the Midwest or East Coast. So for a British writer to take a stab at it, especially one not particularly associated with the US (like Christopher Isherwood or Aldous Huxley was) then the job is even harder.
The book here is kind of a meaner version of an Iris Murdoch novel. And she’s already plenty mean. The results are pretty limited, and while some of the individual writing is amazing and hilarious, the book itself feels relatively slim and shallow. This is especially frustrating given that the subject matter is ripe for satire, but here’s it’s hard to quite figure out where the satire lies.