California: A Novel

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The highly acclaimed, instant New York Times bestseller that "shows the moment-by-moment reality of a painful possible future, the price we may have to pay for our passionate devotion to all of the wrong things." --Sarah Stone, San Francisco Chronicle
The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. Mourning a past they can't reclaim, they seek solace in each other. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant.

Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.

A gripping and provocative debut novel by a stunning new talent, California imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind's dark nature and deep-seated resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love.
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About the author

Edan Lepucki is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a staff writer for The Millions. Her short fiction has been published in McSweeney's and Narrative magazine, among other publications, and she is the founder and director of Writing Workshops Los Angeles. This is her first novel.
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3.6
135 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Little, Brown
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Published on
Jul 8, 2014
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9780316250825
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Dystopian
Fiction / Family Life / General
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS’ CHOICE • An ordinary town is transformed by a mysterious illness that triggers perpetual sleep in this mesmerizing novel from the bestselling author of The Age of Miracles.

“Stunning.”—Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven • “A startling, beautiful portrait of a community in peril.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
One night in an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a first-year student stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. When a second girl falls asleep, and then a third, Mei finds herself thrust together with an eccentric classmate as panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. A young couple tries to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. Two sisters turn to each other for comfort as their survivalist father prepares for disaster.

Those affected by the illness, doctors discover, are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, higher than has ever been recorded before. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?

Written in luminous prose, The Dreamers is a breathtaking and beautiful novel, startling and provocative, about the possibilities contained within a human life—if only we are awakened to them.

Praise for The Dreamers

“Walker’s roving fictive eye by turns probes characters’ innermost feelings and zooms out to coolly parse topics like reality versus delusion. . . . [It has] the perfect ambiguous frame for a tense and layered plot.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“[Walker’s] gripping, provocative novel should come with a warning: may cause insomnia.”—People (Book of the Week)

“Powerful and moving . . . written with symphonic sweep.”—The New York Times Book Review

“2019’s first must-read novel . . . Alternately terrifying and moving . . . The Dreamers is overflowing with humanity.”—Jezebel

“This is an exquisite work of intimacy. Walker’s sentences are smooth, emotionally arresting—of a true, ethereal beauty. . . . This book achieves [a] dazzling, aching humanity.”—Entertainment Weekly
NAMED A RECOMMENDED BOOK OF 2018 BY

The New York Times • The Chicago Reader • Nylon •  The Boston Globe • The Huffington Post • The Rumpus  • The AV Club • Southern Living • The Millions • Buzzfeed • Esquire • Publishers Weekly

A powerful and moving new novel from an award-winning, acclaimed author: in the wake of a devastating revelation, a father and son journey north across a tapestry of towns

When a widower receives notice from a doctor that he doesn’t have long left to live, he is struck by the question of who will care for his adult son—a son whom he fiercely loves, a boy with Down syndrome. With no recourse in mind, and with a desire to see the country on one last trip, the man signs up as a census taker for a mysterious governmental bureau and leaves town with his son. 


Traveling into the country, through towns named only by ascending letters of the alphabet, the man and his son encounter a wide range of human experience. While some townspeople welcome them into their homes, others who bear the physical brand of past censuses on their ribs are wary of their presence. When they press toward the edges of civilization, the landscape grows wilder, and the towns grow farther apart and more blighted by industrial decay. As they approach “Z,” the man must confront a series of questions: What is the purpose of the census? Is he complicit in its mission? And just how will he learn to say good-bye to his son? 

Mysterious and evocative, Census is a novel about free will, grief, the power of memory, and the ferocity of parental love, from one of our most captivating young writers.

American War meets Into the Wild in Brian Hart’s epic saga of one man’s struggle to survive a hostile world—tracing his path from a self-destructive, skateboarding youth in the 90s to the near future as he journeys across a desolate, militia-controlled American West to find his missing family—perfect for fans of Edan Lepuki and Cormac McCarthy.

In the America of a near future, northern California and the Pacific Northwest have become a desolate wasteland controlled by violent separatist militias and marked by a lack of water and fuel. In a village outside Reno, a middle-aged man visits an undertaker and gathers the ashes of his dead wife to bring to Alaska. There, their children await them—refugees from the destruction of the south. To reach his only remaining family, the man must cross the treacherous, violent landscape north by bike, his dog his only companion.

Thirty years earlier, we meet Roy Bingham. After a rough-and-tumble childhood, Roy is numbing himself with skateboarding, drugs, and sex, when he meets Karen. Sassy, soulful, and arresting, Karen pulls Roy into her orbit until she decides to give up their nomadic lifestyle to put down roots in her hometown of Loyalton, California. Roy’s fidelity buckles under the commitment and after a boozy night in Reno he leaves Karen for the road and skateboarding.

Flashing back and forth in time across four decades in the life of a man who is lost even when he’s found, Trouble No Man delivers a resonant story of survival, violence, and family, set against the tumult of an America on the precipice of becoming an unfree nation.

 

NPR Best Books of 2018

“Coleman’s timely debut is testimony to the power of an old story seen afresh through new eyes.” —Adelaide Advertiser

“In our politically tumultuous time, the novel’s themes of racism, inherent humanity and freedom are particularly poignant.” —Books + Publishing

The Natives of the Colony are restless. The Settlers are eager to have a nation of peace and to bring the savages into line. Families are torn apart. Reeducation is enforced. This rich land will provide for all.

This is not the Australia we know. This is not the Australia of the history books. Terra Nullius is something new, but all too familiar.

Shortlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize Indie Book Awards and Highly Commended for the Victorian Premiers Literary Awards, Terra Nullius is an incredible debut from a striking new Australian Aboriginal voice.

Jacky was running. There was no thought in his head, only an intense drive to run. There was no sense he was getting anywhere, no plan, no destination, no future. All he had was a sense of what was behind, what he was running from. Jacky was running.

Claire G. Coleman is a writer from Western Australia. She identifies with the South Coast Noongar people. Her family are associated with the area around Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun. Claire grew up in a Forestry’s settlement in the middle of a tree plantation, where her dad worked, not far out of Perth. She wrote her black&write! fellowship- winning manuscript Terra Nullius while traveling around Australia in a caravan.

“A juice box of suburban satire laced with Alfred Hitchcock” (The Washington Post)—a novel of art, motherhood, and the intensity of female friendships, set in the posh hills above Los Angeles, from the New York Times bestselling author of California
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • San Francisco Chronicle • New York Observer • Huffington Post • The Millions • Nylon • Vulture • Bustle

High in the Hollywood Hills, Lady Daniels has separated from her husband. She’s going to need help with their toddler son if she’s going to finish the memoir she can’t stand writing. From a Craigslist ad, she hires S, a magnetic young artist, to live in the guesthouse behind the pool, take care of Lady’s young son, and keep an eye on her older, teenage one. S performs her job beautifully and quickly draws the entire family into her orbit—but she isn’t exactly who she seems. As Lady and S grow closer, old secrets and new betrayals come to light, jeopardizing what they hold most dear.
 
Praise for Woman No. 17
 
“Woman No. 17 is propulsive and moving, and considers vital questions with empathy and sly intelligence. . . . A winning novel. ”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Lepucki’s exploration of personal relationships takes on an increasingly noirish tone: Much like Chekhov’s gun, a swimming pool introduced early in the book takes on the shadows of a floating body long before the reader realizes this might be a possibility.”—Elle
 
“Edan Lepucki’s Woman No. 17 is part family melodrama, part twisty self-reflection. . . . Very funny.”—GQ
 
“While Woman No. 17 does possess all the trappings of a frothy page-turner—stormy arguments, showy melodrama, and (oops!) an affair—there are some quiet, serious moments, too. It’s the intersection between the two that makes this read both scintillating and thought-provoking.”—San Francisco Chronicle
Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, NPR,  Vanity Fair, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, The Atlantic, Refinery 29, Men's Journal, Ploughshares, Lit Hub, Book Riot, Los Angeles Magazine, Powells, BookPage and Kirkus Reviews 

The much-anticipated first novel from a Story Prize-winning “5 Under 35” fiction writer.
 
In 2012, Claire Vaye Watkins’s 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 Mojavs—Luz, once a poster child for the Bureau of Conservation and its enemies, and Ray, a veteran of the “forever war” turned surfer—squat in a starlet’s abandoned mansion. Holdouts, they subsist on rationed cola and whatever they can loot, scavenge, and improvise.

The couple’s 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 dowser—a diviner for water—and 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, Watkins’s 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.
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