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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

California

by

California Cover

ISBN13: 9780316250818
ISBN10: 0316250813
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Average customer rating based on 80 comments:

Jennifer Dakki, July 22, 2014 (view all comments by Jennifer Dakki)
The fantastic thing about this novel is that it forced me to be patient... it gave me a little info and then pulled back, gave me a little more, and then pulled back again... I was a bit annoyed at first because I kept thinking to myself... WHAT IS GOING ON?!?!?! Then I realized this dance Edan Lepucki dances with her readers draws them in slowly until they become completely immersed in the story. She gives you a bit of the past, then the present, back to the past back to the present... tiny morsels that leave you hungry for more information and more insight. Edan did a masterful job of transitioning from past to present and from Cal's POV to Frida's to help provide those morsels and to let the story unfold naturally as if you were living it with them. You, the reader, are the third person in their marriage looking to see what will happen next.

Frida and her husband Cal are in this world that's not the dystopian world of the far future. This is a world that was created because nature's savagery brought the world to its knees. Phenomena ranging from earthquakes to blizzards caused civilization to break down. People, and their reaction to all that had happened caused degeneration to occur that much quicker. Economic disparity and desperation fragmented society. Some might think... that could never happen, but after the brutal winter we just had with that awful polar vortex, it felt like it could be real.

While the book was great overall, my frustration was the end. After this entire dance, it felt very abrupt. Things that could have and should have been explained weren't and you start with shock... "Is that it?" Then you move to anger... "no, no, no... did you run out of ink Edan, are you writing a sequel?" Then you move on to the only way you know how to comfort yourself..."Yes of course there's going to be a sequel, there has to be, the story is nowhere near done... if it's done then there was no point to this story, but surely there was a point to all this great writing and therefore there will be a sequel."

Edan Lepucki... I hope there's a sequel.
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(6 of 13 readers found this comment helpful)
Eddie Presley, July 21, 2014 (view all comments by Eddie Presley)
The hype for this book is remarkable and so it was with a bit of anticipation that I ordered it. It is a debut novel and it very much reads like one. It doesn't have its own vocabulary and as a writer we don't know Lepucki's. It is touted as a literary / dystopian / survivalist / end of the world type of novel and it is trying to be one with all its might. It does not have the depth of character development to make it a character study and it is not adept enough with words to make it a literary novel that just happens to be about surviving as the world unfurls. It's not bad either - in fact, it was engrossing enough that I pulled through to the end and wanted to find out what was happening. I'm even interested enough to see what her next book will be, but it isn't a revelatory reading by any stretch. The genre does need a literary voice, a female voice to rise up alongside Cormac McCarthy's The Road which, in literary terms has said everything this book has to say along with what the 100 other titles in this genre had to say. The biggest issue is that nothing happens. In character study literary works, this is isn't a big issue, but the shallow depth here means we are focused in on the "mystery" of the Land and what's happening... and nothing happens. There's no twist, no reveal, no overcoming, no deaths, no wresting control... it just ends the way we knew it was going to end. As soon as it's pointed out there are no children, the reader automatically jumps to the logical conclusions of what happened to them and unfortunately... we are right. At that point, it's just waiting for it to be over. The other HUGE HUGE con of the book is the crutch and overuse of drawing room drama and soap opera cliches of no one being able to give a straight answer. It's always, 'I could tell you, but I'm not going to...' for any of a dozen reasons. It happens so often that it's almost a deal breaker for continued reading. People do not act that way; and eventually what happens is the other dreaded cliche of huge monologues from characters info dumping 'the shocking information'... which isn't too shocking because we already guessed it. Also, the villain of the piece isn't a villain. He's doing what he has to do and these peoples lives are better for it... in its weird logic of the story world. As in the Deadwood HBO series and the brothel owner being the defacto government of Deadwood. He is a rough character, but he is hardly a villain. It's just how things worked and peoples lives there were better for it. So, in the end a good read, a summer read for sure, and that's not a horrible thing.
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(8 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)
zqx333, July 19, 2014 (view all comments by zqx333)
I think the goog has this for cheaper.
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(3 of 18 readers found this comment helpful)
fractalfee, July 18, 2014 (view all comments by fractalfee)
Apparently, books are now rated by their marketing campaigns. Remember, it's not how you write: it's who you know, and where they can hype you! This book is like an episode of Lost, only without the polar bears and even more boring. It borders on unreadable, and is packed with unlikeable characters and exactly zero plot twists. It is so, so dull. Unfortunately, in the end everyone lives. Congrats to the author for knowing all the right people.
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(6 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)
VickiL, July 17, 2014 (view all comments by VickiL)
It usually takes me anywhere from 2 to 3 chapters to decide whether I'm going to commit time to a new book. However, this book "got me" by page 10! While there are many post-apocalyptic books around these days, most of them depict a USA gone so wrong that it is unrecognizable. This book, though, portrays an LA that has descended into chaos and a wilderness existence that could truly happen for those who want to escape the havoc. It is a future that is all too possible and, therefore, simultaneously frightening and mesmerizing. The books title evokes both the setting and the main character, a post earthquake California gone awry and a main character, Calvin, sometimes called a derogatory California by his old college mates, who, with is wife show us what people are willing to do to maintain a sense of safety in an uncertain time. It's interesting to watch these characters as they adjust to their new surroundings and accommodate themselves to a new reality. I hope their will be an equally satisfying sequel as I want to know more about these people.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780316250818
Author:
Lepucki, Edan
Publisher:
Little Brown and Company
Publication Date:
20140731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English

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Related Subjects

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » New Arrivals

California Used Hardcover
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$17.95 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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