Watkins received much attention (and several awards) for her debut story collection, Battleborn. Her first novel is just as dazzling. Set in a vividly rendered near-future West turned dry as bones, Gold Fame Citrus follows the journey of an ex-model, an ex-soldier, and a toddler they've rescued. This eerie, hypnotic tale of survival is a must-read from a rising talent. Recommended By Renee P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
The much-anticipated first novel from a Story Prize-winning 5 Under 35 fiction writer.
In 2012, Claire Vaye Watkinss story collection, Battleborn, swept nearly every award for short fiction. Now this young writer, widely heralded as a once-in-a-generation talent, returns with a first novel that harnesses the sweeping vision and deep heart that made her debut so arresting to a love story set in a devastatingly imagined near future:
Unrelenting drought has transfigured Southern California into a surreal, phantasmagoric landscape. With the Central Valley barren, underground aquifer drained, and Sierra snowpack entirely depleted, most Mojavs,” prevented by both armed vigilantes and an indifferent bureaucracy from freely crossing borders to lusher regions, have allowed themselves to be evacuated to internment camps. In Los Angeles Laurel Canyon, two young MojavsLuz, once a poster child for the Bureau of Conservation and its enemies, and Ray, a veteran of the forever war” turned surfersquat in a starlets abandoned mansion. Holdouts, they subsist on rationed cola and whatever they can loot, scavenge, and improvise.
The couples fragile love somehow blooms in this arid place, and for the moment, it seems enough. But when they cross paths with a mysterious child, the thirst for a better future begins. They head east, a route strewn with danger: sinkholes and patrolling authorities, bandits and the brutal, omnipresent sun. Ghosting after them are rumors of a visionary dowsera diviner for waterand his followers, who whispers say have formed a colony at the edge of a mysterious sea of dunes.
Immensely moving, profoundly disquieting, and mind-blowingly original, Watkinss novel explores the myths we believe about others and tell about ourselves, the double-edged power of our most cherished relationships, and the shape of hope in a precarious future that may be our own.
"[Gold Fame Citrus] burns with a dizzying, scorching genius.” Vanity Fair
"At once beautiful and profoundly unsettling, [Gold Fame Citrus] sears its way into the brain, burning hot through the devastating journey and lingering long after the last page is turned.” Elle
"A beautiful debut novel...Watkins' vision is profoundly terrifying.
It's a novel that's effective precisely because it's so realistic —
while Watkins' image of the future is undeniably dire, there's nothing
about it that sounds implausible....Watkins
writes with a brutal kind of beauty, and even in the book's darkest
moments, it's impossible to turn away. It's an urgent, frequently
merciless book, as unrelenting as it is brilliant. Watkins forces us to
confront things we'd probably rather ignore, but because we're human, we
can't.” Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Claire Vaye Watkins is the author of Battleborn, winner of the Story Prize, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. Battleborn was named a Best Book of 2012 by the San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Time Out New York, and