Synopses & Reviews
Damon and his girlfriend Amy have had enough of Los Angeles. Fitful and tired and dreaming of a simpler life, they leave the city to go work on a community farm. But they've scarcely arrived when their vague hopes start to come unraveled: What are they really doing here? Who are their friends? Are they truly testing themselves, or are they just chasing a fantasy that will never be fulfilled?
By degrees, they realize that their dreams are not the same. For Damon, a career in the field of branding unfolds almost effortlessly, while for Amy, the menial labor of the farm leads to a satisfying but difficult new path. As the rift deepens, they are forced to evaluate fundamental questions of identity and fate, ambition and betrayal, compromise and lust.
This novel is a fresh, searching story about the love of work and the work of love, and the life destinies that we sadly only recognize in retrospect.
"Screenwriter and author Raymond (Livability) puts a fresh spin on an old notion in his new novel. Damon and Amy are L.A. professionals who pull up stakes and begin anew at an organic farm located near — where else? — Portland, Ore. Although it takes time for them to fit into the new community, Amy eventually becomes assistant to a beekeeper, and Damon a 'marketing guerrilla' for the farm's products. But their relationship founders, and Amy separates from Damon. Peter Hawk, the farm's charismatic founder, asks Damon to join him in a new venture — using Peter's New Age philosophies to start a management consultancy for companies. Damon sets himself to the task vigorously as he cautiously tries to win back Amy, discovering that success in one may lead to failure in the other. Although the low-key story lacks drama, the author holds the reader's attention with the crystalline purity of his prose. There's pleasure to be derived from his meticulous observations of how systems work and people think. In the end, fans of the author's idiosyncratic screenplays for Wendy and Lucy, Meek's Cutoff, and Mildred Pierce (co-written with Todd Haynes) will find the same qualities in this intelligent novel. Agent: Jennifer Carlson, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Raymond expertly captures the emotions of personal growth and inner turmoil while bringing the Oregon setting to life with descriptive language reminiscent of that in his first novel, The Half Life (2004). Deep characters offset by a light tone make this work about dreams and realities an enjoyable read." Booklist
"With sly humor, Raymond has a bit of fun with the overly virtuous life at an organic farm, revealing cracks in the too-perfect façade while portraying a waning relationship. [His] work deserves the spotlight and is highly recommended." Library Journal
About the Author
Jon Raymond is the author of the novel The Half-Life, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2004, and the short story collection Livability, winner of the 2009 Ken Kesey Award for Fiction. He is the writer of several films, including Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, and cowriter of the Emmy-nominated screenplay for the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce. Raymond's writing has appeared in Bookforum, Artforum, Tin House, the Village Voice, and other publications. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his family.