She agrees to be photographed – and soon Nina is “the most popular female surfer in the world”, featured on a magazine cover and a calendar, all featuring Nina’s photos for 12 months. July in particular (her white-stringed bikini was not as opaque as she was led to believe) becomes a sensation, “blown away in posters that show teenage boys’ bedrooms and cupboards for years to come And hang in the locker. ” Nina is a reluctant sex symbol, believingly and sympathetically so.
Reid’s dialogue seeks to capture the tone of the young, the beautiful and the athletic, but the majority of it seems lazy due to being cringe-worthy. The dialogue and internal monologue may be juvenile, filled with repeated profanities that cannot be quoted here, but instead of adding a picture of these characters, wears thinner and detracts from the overall effect, as Reid intended to.
This was fine and appropriate in Reid’s previous book, “Daisy Jones and the Six”, a fictional oral history of a rock band. But “Malibu Rising” is a different kind of novel, with a voice that could have been used to elevate.
In addition there is a dependence on tired exaggeration. Mick is “one of the most famous men in the world.” Nina’s party guests include a boy writing “some of the biggest hits of the decade,” “one of the most beautiful women in the world” and “the greatest female tennis player ever.” It is certainly a social satire; Reid is mocking Hollywood fame, but it’s not entirely clear what tongue-in-cheek is.
What a party it is! Hundreds come and they cannot control themselves. They enthusiastically trash the place; There are “broken glass and vomits and a half-naked body and two people lined with a silver plate.” Someone swings from the chandelier; Another pee on Lichtenstein. Nobody calls the police until a bullet arrives in the end – finally! – And then they only increase the catastrophe. It’s not a very good sign that about three-quarters of the way through the 170 pages dedicated to the party, I remembered that I should have found the exaggerated antics funny, while finding that fame produces nightmares.
Because the novel begins with a short, well-illustrated chapter reminding us that “burning is the nature of Malibu,” we are ready. We wait for the party to ignite, wondering who will bring the drunken, stone-pelting or looting guests or family members to the inevitable.
By the end of “Malibu Rising”, the Rewa siblings will learn many truths. He will get the answer to a lifelong question: Will his absent, famous father ever return? Even when a fire claims a property and is rolled down from the coast; Even after the trauma, the betrayal, the crisis, the fists – or perhaps because of them – we leave the party knowing that we do not have to worry about Rivas.