Burn Coast: The New Great American Weed Novel

in Culture

Contemporary literature rarely touches on the topic of cannabis, mostly because, like other industries, they’re frightened. By “they” I mean publishers, authors, readers. After all, it is still federally illegal (which you’d think would give it more publicity, like bank robbery). However, earlier this year, the folks over at Unnamed Press published a book by Dale Maharidge, and I would recommend that anyone else with a weed novel hold off for at least a year or two, because I can quite confidently say that it won’t be as thorough, educational, and true to the cannabis space as Burn Coast.

The book takes place in the Emerald Triangle, on a fictional ridge nestled behind the Redwood Curtain. It jumps back and forth in time between the 1960s, when a group of outlaws settled there to grow weed and live in/ooze peace, and the present, after their hippie daydream has been invaded by the dark cloud of big money.

The story follows Will Specter, a middle-aged journalist who built himself a cabin there in the ‘90s, as he searches for a missing woman named Zoë Vanderlip, one of the original pioneers of this community. We also meet Will’s closest thing to a neighbor and friend, Daniel Likowski, who is a cross between the Marlboro Man and Jay Gatsby, with an onionesque identity. Zoë’s son, Klaus, plays a major role in the novel, “his expansive greenhouses having made him the largest employer in the valley”; Klaus has also been accused of raping or assaulting three women, most notably, a Bulgarian trimmer by the name of Tammie.

We do a deep dive into each of these characters’ histories, all equally exciting and unexpected. Zoë, for instance, grows up on the East Coast, then runs off to Germany as …

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Author: Cody Lee / High Times

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