Side Effects: A footloose journey to the apocalypse is a novel about the post-World War II baby boom generation and the factors that have led to climate catastrophe. The novel provides a portrait of the boomers by following the lives of a zany, idealistic couple and their growing family through the '50s, '60s, '70s. Beginning on a honeymoon motorcycle trip the couple sets the goal of putting down roots in California, the land of wild beauty, abundance, and political activism. The music, art, science, and politics of the era are palpable throughout the book.
As the author is a psychoanalyst, you get a sense of the deeper psychological impact that this family has on the world, and vice-versa. Katz has a marvelous way of intertwining history, character, place, and fiction. She is a talented writer who puts her stamp on the baby boom generation in a way that is interesting to learn, eclectic, easy to understand, and most of all, entertaining. Her passage of comparing San Francisco to Mecca is enough to hook you. You're in for an emotional ride.- Reader Views
Any novel that starts off with the protagonists standing on a precipice overlooking the Bay Area and screaming for joy that they had found Mecca is a book I want to read. So will you. Side Effects is a deftly rendered, stream-of-consciousness narrative that provokes, challenges, and unsettles—a disquieting discourse cued to our time and place.- Char Miller, W.M. Keck Professor of Environmental Analysis and History, Pomona College
Following WW II, hope was in the air. Fascism and the Great Depression were vanquished. Young Americans dreamed of a new world of peace and endless prosperity. Montana Katz’s new novel Side Effects chronicles the unravelling of those dreams through the lens of one autistic young woman. But Side Effects goes way beyond your traditional coming of age story. Like Katz’s earlier novel, Clytemnestra’s Last Day, which reimagined classic Greek myths to explore painful issues of sexual violence and human tragedy, Side Effects blows up the traditional coming of age story to explore the unravelling of one family and the creation of a global environmental catastrophe. Side Effects is a poignant story of the toxic forces that have destroyed both the American dream and the global environment. Great writing and political fiction at its best.- George Winslow, author of Capital Crimes
Katz’s style is so detailed and personal that I had to check at one point to see if I was reading a memoir or a novel. The stream-of-consciousness narrative is difficult to follow initially, but you do get used to it. A novel full of nostalgia, but not the sugar-coated kind, this book is an excellent exploration of society, politics, and the environment.- Historical Novel Society
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