The Mysterious Bookshop

Santlofer, Jonathan, The Marijuana Chronicles

Publishers Weekly
Akashic’s fourth Drug Chronicles anthology offers a mixed bag (pun intended) with its 17 selections of variable quality, including two poems and a graphic story. Among the standouts are Joyce Carol Oates’s stunning “High,” in which a straight-laced college professor deals with the devastating loss of her husband by turning to marijuana; Edward Madrid Gómez’s “No Smoking,” in which an intellectual young illustrator encounters an eccentric pothead who lures him on a trip down the rabbit hole; and Raymond Mungo’s “Kush City,” about a man’s adventures navigating Long Beach’s medical-marijuana world. Santlofer’s introduction, which traces the cannabis culture from the hysteria of the 1950s through today’s medical-marijuana clinics and even legalization in several states, shows that the times they are a-changin’ indeed. The dramatic stakes may be higher with speed, cocaine, and certainly heroin, but these stories hit the mark, at least when they get off the couch.