Smoke and surf

Point Dume, in Southern California, is a place where the locals mix angrily with rich wannabe surfers, and everyone steers clear of the Mexican drug cartels—until they need to get high. A marijuana poacher, an illegal immigrant gardener, a pregnant surf bum, a desperate housewife and a rich vineyard owner form an unlikely narrative ensemble in Katie Arnoldi’s latest novel. The variety of voices allows a broad view into the social dynamics of California’s seaside communities, but the narrators’ constant rotation makes it difficult to become invested in anyone’s plight. The glimpses into illegal marijuana cultivation are fascinating, but this brief, disjointed novel has more of an agenda to push than a story to tell.