The Golden State: A Novel

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NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION 5 UNDER 35 PICK. LONGLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION'S FIRST NOVEL PRIZE.

Named one of the Best Books of 2018 by NPR, Bookforum and Bustle. One of Entertainment Weekly's 10 Best Debut Novels of 2018. An Amazon Best Book of the Month and named a fall read by Buzzfeed, Nylon, Entertainment Weekly, Elle, Vanity Fair, Vulture, Refinery29 and Mind Body Green

A gorgeous, raw debut novel about a young woman braving the ups and downs of motherhood in a fractured America

In Lydia Kiesling’s razor-sharp debut novel, The Golden State, we accompany Daphne, a young mother on the edge of a breakdown, as she flees her sensible but strained life in San Francisco for the high desert of Altavista with her toddler, Honey. Bucking under the weight of being a single parent—her Turkish husband is unable to return to the United States because of a “processing error”—Daphne takes refuge in a mobile home left to her by her grandparents in hopes that the quiet will bring clarity.

But clarity proves elusive. Over the next ten days Daphne is anxious, she behaves a little erratically, she drinks too much. She wanders the town looking for anyone and anything to punctuate the long hours alone with the baby. Among others, she meets Cindy, a neighbor who is active in a secessionist movement, and befriends the elderly Alice, who has traveled to Altavista as she approaches the end of her life. When her relationships with these women culminate in a dangerous standoff, Daphne must reconcile her inner narrative with the reality of a deeply divided world.

Keenly observed, bristling with humor, and set against the beauty of a little-known part of California, The Golden State is about class and cultural breakdowns, and desperate attempts to bridge old and new worlds. But more than anything, it is about motherhood: its voracious worry, frequent tedium, and enthralling, wondrous love.

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About the author

Lydia Kiesling is the editor of The Millions. Her debut novel, The Golden State, was longlisted for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize. Her essays and criticism have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Slate, and The New Yorker online, and have been recognized in The Best American Essays 2016. Kiesling lives in San Francisco with her family.
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3.7
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Additional Information

Publisher
MCD
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Published on
Sep 4, 2018
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780374718060
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Women
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

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The state of California votes on secession in the wake of a divisive presidential election in this gripping, prescient novel of marriage, family, and the profound moments that shape our lives.

Doctor Julie Walker has just signed her divorce papers when she receives news that her younger sister, Heather, has gone into labor. Though theirs is a strained relationship, Julie sets out for the hospital to be at her sister’s side—no easy task since the streets of San Francisco are filled with tension and strife. Today is also the day that Julie will find herself at the epicenter of a violent standoff in which she is forced to examine both the promising and the painful parts of her past—her Southern childhood; her romance with her husband, Tom; her estrangement from Heather; and the shattering incident that led to her greatest heartbreak.

Infused with emotional depth and poignancy, Golden State takes readers on a journey over the course of a single, unforgettable day—through an extraordinary landscape of love, loss, and hope.

Praise for Golden State

“A stirring look at the ties that bind husband-wife, mother-child and even sisters, and what happens when they’re torn asunder. Set in a San Francisco chafing with unrest both political and personal, the world Richmond creates is exquisitely charged with regret and hope.”—Family Circle

“[A] riveting read that can be recommended to fans of Jodi Picoult and Jacquelyn Mitchard . . . Mesmerizing and intricate, Richmond’s dissection of a California on the violent brink of secession from the nation provides the backdrop to her deeper inspection of the uneasy, fragile relationship between siblings.”—Booklist (starred review)

“[An] amazing, turbulent novel woven of disparate threads . . . Nearly every feature of this mesmerizing novel is provocative, as Richmond explores the fragmented, hopeful lives of complex characters. This is gripping, multilayered must-read fiction.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“An exciting premise . . . skillfully written . . . Julie’s past and her relationship with the other characters are scrutinized as the clock ticks. It’s an interesting and sometimes-disturbing study.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“Richmond takes readers through a bittersweet, heartwarming tale of a woman on the cusp of life-changing events in both her personal and professional lives. . . . Once invested, the reader is carried away by this action-packed, poignant story, making this a tale that will live in the heart of the reader once the last page is read.”—RT Book Reviews
 
“This is a thoughtful book about how past circumstances change us into the people we are today, for the good or bad. Julie is a sympathetic and relatable character, and readers will definitely feel for her as she goes through her life-changing day.”—The Parkersburg News and Sentinel
 
“Richmond . . . delivers a page-turner.”—San Jose Mercury News

“A breathtaking read and one I’ll not soon forget.”—Melanie Benjamin, author of The Aviator’s Wife

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.
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