California (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Speculative Fiction

It’s difficult to find a post-apocalyptic novel with a unique angle, which is why I tend to avoid them. I almost passed on this one, but I was hooked from the first page. What is refreshingly different here is the destruction of the world isn’t caused by say, a rapidly-spreading virus; it’s a gradual and realistic decline involving natural disasters across the nation and a widening gap between the elite and the rest of the population. What I also appreciated is that the focus of the story is on the relationship between Cal and Frida as they struggle with their isolated life in the wilderness. Eventually, the couple embarks on a journey to find others, but the suspicious community they stumble upon unleashes an entirely different nightmare. A chilling, thoughtful, and beautifully-written debut.

– Sarah

— From Sarah Chen


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.

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.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780316250832
ISBN-10: 031625083X
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Publication Date: July 7th, 2015
Pages: 416
Language: English