California

Edan Lepucki. Little, Brown, $26 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-25081-8
In her suspenseful debut, Lepucki envisions a postapocalyptic America and the people left behind. After fleeing a decaying, ransacked Los Angeles to begin anew in the wilderness, married couple Cal and Frida are faced with dwindling supplies and an uncertain future. When Frida discovers she might be pregnant, the need to connect with other survivors becomes all the more imperative. The couple finds hope after stumbling upon a fortified rogue encampment in the woods with startling connections to Frida’s past. That is, until unsettling aspects about the place—the absence of any children in the community, a despotic leader, and ties to an underground group linked to a suicide bombing, among other revolutionary acts—suggest Cal and Frida might be better off on their own. Though real-world parallels can be drawn regarding the circumstances of the world’s decline and rebirth in the novel—“the Group” is like a mash-up of the Occupy Wall Street and Weather Underground movements; the sterile wealthier “Communities” clearly signify the 1%—Lepucki focuses on Cal and Frida’s evolving relationship and their divergent approaches to their predicament. As seen in chapters told from their alternating perspectives, the less they trust each other, the more tension mounts, building to an explosive climax that few readers will see coming. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/05/2014
Release date: 07/08/2014
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-316-25082-5
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-0-316-25083-2
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4789-3036-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-0322-2
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