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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z



California Cover

ISBN13: 9780316250818
ISBN10: 0316250813
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Average customer rating based on 81 comments:

clloop, February 18, 2015 (view all comments by clloop)
A great tale of a couple trying to get by in a post apocalyptic setting. Frida and Cal are just trying to do what is best for their future in a land of uncertainty. The way their idea of what that may be is ever changing and leads to tension in the relationship. Is it better on your own or in a community when you don't know who you can trust? Edan does a good job incorporating an ebb and flow of tense moments. There are moment where you as the read feel comfortable and safe and others where your heart is racing.
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Kali Lux, November 11, 2014 (view all comments by Kali Lux)
Edan Lepucki’s first novel, California, quakes and freezes our world into dystopia, adds a dash of refuge with dark undertones, throws in the nefarious older brother from Ender’s Game, and stirs.

Protagonists Cal and Frida flee a crime-infested and broken-down Los Angeles, making home out of a shed in the woods. As memories mix with their day-to-day struggle to survive and search for companionship in this new world, they stumble upon the causes of their civilization’s decline.

In this not-too-distant future, the wealthy live in Communities, with infrastructure and protection paid for by supporting corporations. Those who can’t afford to get into the Communities, like Cal and Frida, are left fending for themselves in the wilds of America. Outside a Community’s high walls of safety brace, they brace for raids from marauding pirates, plant vegetable gardens and fish, and wait for the horse-riding tradesman to arrive.

This book is probably on your radar as its hype machine has been running hard. It was featured on Ford’s Audiobook Club, and The Colbert Report. Currently, it is up for a Goodreads Choice Award for Best Sci-Fi.

I waffled quite a bit while reading California, not sure if I loved it or hated it. Main characters Cal and Frida, like most of us, seemed dull rather than dazzling, struggling in dystopia rather than building evil empires or falling apart into little pieces. They make dumb mistakes and don’t stand up for themselves. They have sex a lot because they’re bored, they hate eating vegetables every meal and miss their friends and families. Maybe this makes California authentic to a post-disaster life, and maybe this makes it a bit boring. They’re just trying to survive, scared and hungry and lonely. As other reviewers have mentioned, the language here isn’t doing any cartwheels, but I don’t think Lepucki intended her narrators, Cal and Frida, to speak eloquently or rhapsodize about their experience.

California scared me not because I live in it’s namesake state, home of earthquakes and the current drought, but because the concept of privatized Communities felt so plausible. I lived in Oakland, CA for many years, and there’s been much debate about private security cars roaming the nicer areas while the poorer areas are left to fend for themselves. Google is building an airport in Mountain View complete with a blimp hangar. I winced when I read about a world in which corporations keep the wealthy safe in compounds and forget about the rest of us, because it does seem so plausible based on some of the current struggles in the Bay Area.

What makes this book great is all that necessary societal evil brimming under the surface. In this California, you can’t have everything, and the sacrifices made for safety or its opposite, for comfort or control, are staggering. This isn’t just another dystopian novel, but (like the best speculative fiction/dystopia) it feels like an accurate criticism of life in our society today.
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(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
Kristine Andrews, November 4, 2014 (view all comments by Kristine Andrews)
I bought this based on encouragement from Powell's. All political inner-workings of the book business aside, I was very disappointed.
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(2 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
Katharine Reeves, October 24, 2014 (view all comments by Katharine Reeves)
I loved this book! I found it immediately interesting and couldn't put it down! This has only happened to me a few times - Count of Monte Cristo, the Stand, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. Edan is a very good writer, and I loved reading the emotional intricacies of her characters. Some of it felt a little stiff and contrived, but what doesn't from time to time? Overall, very satisfying book to linger over.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Kitty B, October 21, 2014 (view all comments by Kitty B)
I bought this book during the initial furor over Hachett and just got around to reading it. The thing that struck me, that I haven't seen in the other reviews, was the strong sense of place Lepucki evokes in her novel. The people and the locale feel real and draw the reader into the world she has created. I particularly liked first half of the book where the pacing echoes the life the characters lead in this post-industrial, post-government world. Wonderful read.
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Product Details

Lepucki, Edan
Little Brown and Company
Publication Date:

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California Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.50 In Stock
Product details pages Little Brown and Company - English 9780316250818 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

This book proves definitively that when Sherman Alexie and Stephen Colbert tell you to read a book, you should probably go ahead and do it. Edan Lepucki creates a world full of morally ambiguous characters who force you to examine the systems of security and trust that we create for ourselves. A disturbingly believable post-apocalyptic novel, California exposes just how vulnerable the bonds of blood, marriage, and friendship can be.

"Staff Pick" by ,

California by Edan Lepucki is an intelligent, intriguing, and thought-provoking novel about what the near future may be like. Human nature and relationships are highlighted as secrets are kept, yet inner thoughts are reflective and honest. A lazy summer read that I enjoyed throughout.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In her suspenseful debut, Lepucki envisions a postapocalyptic America and the people left behind. After fleeing a decaying, ransacked Los Angeles to begin anew in the wilderness, married couple Cal and Frida are faced with dwindling supplies and an uncertain future. When Frida discovers she might be pregnant, the need to connect with other survivors becomes all the more imperative. The couple finds hope after stumbling upon a fortified rogue encampment in the woods with startling connections to Frida's past. That is, until unsettling aspects about the place — the absence of any children in the community, a despotic leader, and ties to an underground group linked to a suicide bombing, among other revolutionary acts — suggest Cal and Frida might be better off on their own. Though real-world parallels can be drawn regarding the circumstances of the world's decline and rebirth in the novel — 'the Group' is like a mash-up of the Occupy Wall Street and Weather Underground movements; the sterile wealthier 'Communities' clearly signify the 1% — Lepucki focuses on Cal and Frida's evolving relationship and their divergent approaches to their predicament. As seen in chapters told from their alternating perspectives, the less they trust each other, the more tension mounts, building to an explosive climax that few readers will see coming. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Rewarding....[One of] 30 books you NEED to read in 2014."
"Review" by , "Edan Lepucki's first novel comes steeped in Southern California literary tradition....One thinks of Steve Erickson or Cynthia Kadohata, or Carolyn See, whose 1987 novel Golden Days ends with the nuclear holocaust."
"Review" by , "Noteworthy....Lepucki's debut is an inventive take on the post-apocalyptic novel, about a couple who moves from an isolated existence in the wilderness to a guarded community that, they soon realize, harbors terrifying secrets and unforseen dangers."
"Review" by , "An expansive, full-bodied and masterful narrative of humans caught in the most extreme situations, with all of our virtues and failings on full display: courage, cowardice, trust, betrayal, honor and expedience. The final eighty pages of this book gripped me as much as any fictional denouement I've encountered in recent years....I firmly believe that Edan Lepucki is on the cusp of a long, strong career in American letters."
"Review" by , "Stunning and brilliant novel, which is a wholly original take on the post-apocalypse genre, an end-of-the-world we've never seen before and yet is uncomfortably believable and recognizable. By turns funny and heartbreaking, scary and tender, beautifully written and compulsively page-turning, this is a book that will haunt me, and that I'll be thankful to return to in the years to come. It left me speechless. Read it, and prepare yourself."
"Review" by , "This thrilling and thoughtful debut novel by Edan Lepucki follows a young married couple navigating dangers both physical and emotional in a wild, mysterious post-collapse America. It's a vivid, believable picture of a not-so-distant future and the timeless negotiation of young marriage, handled with suspense and psychological acuity."
"Review" by , "Edan Lepucki is the very best kind of writer: simultaneously generous and precise. I am long been an admirer of her prose, but this book — this book, this massive, brilliant book — is a four alarm fire, the ambitious and rich introduction that a writer of her caliber deserves. I can't wait for the world to know what I have known for so many years, that Edan Lepucki is the real thing, and that we will all be bowing at her feet before long."
"Review" by , "It's tempting to call this novel post-apocalyptic, but really, it's about an apocalypse in progress, an apocalypse that might already be happening, one that doesn't so much break life into before and after as unravel it bit by bit. Edan Lepucki tells her tale with preternatural clarity and total believability, in large part by focusing on the relationships — between husband and wife, brother and sister, parent and child — that are, it turns out, apocalypse-proof. Post-nothing. California is timeless."
"Review" by , "California is a wonder: a big, gripping and inventive story built on quiet, precise human moments. Edan Lepucki's eerie near future is vividly and persuasively imagined. She is a fierce new presence in American fiction."
"Review" by , "There's been no shortage of apocalyptic scenarios in our recent literature. What makes Edan Lepucki's novel so stunning is that her survivors don't merely resemble us, they are us, in their emotional particularity and dilemmas. The result is a book as terse and terrifying as the best of Shirley Jackson, on the one hand, and as clear-eyed and profound a portrait of a marriage as Evan Connell's Mrs. Bridge, on the other. California is superb."
"Review" by , "In her remarkable debut California, Edan Lepucki has conjured a post-apocalyptic vision that is honest, frightening, and altogether too realistic. At times disturbing and often heartbreaking, California is an original examination of the limitations of family and loyalty in a world on the verge of collapse."
"Review" by , "Edan Lepucki's novel California kept me up for five nights. This was a problem. However, I was not just tired, but often worried for the characters, for our world, and then astonished and laughing at her skill with humor and lyricism even in the fearful landscape. It's a ruined place, yes, but the bonds of family, and the betrayal of blood, are as true as every in her surprising imagery and her complicated humans, who could be any of us."
"Review" by , "Breathtakingly original, fearless and inventive, pitch perfect in its portrayal of the intimacies and tiny betrayals of marriage, so utterly gripping it demands to be read in one sitting: Edan Lepucki's California is the novel you have been waiting for, the novel that perfectly captures the hopes and anxieties of contemporary America. This is a novel that resonates on every level, a novel that stays with you for a lifetime. Read it now."
"Review" by , "California is carefully drawn and beautifully textured. It's a pleasure to watch love and family transform in this dark, strange forest."
"Review" by , "When the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper, you want a guide whose insight into the subtle revolutions of the heart are as nuanced as her perceptions about the broken world are astute. In prose witty, seductive, and exacting, Lepucki reminds us that, in the after-life of social collapse, it's not only the strongest willed, but the most compassionate among us, who must rebuild. California is an epic of interiors."
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