The sunshine state lies in darkness. Los Angeles is in ruins, left to the angels now.
Cal and Frida live and work together in the wilderness, living in a shack, as the crumbling city of Los Angeles was left behind them. One day, she finds out she’s pregnant. Riddled with fear of the unknown, in raising a child together in these circumstances, they set out in search of others, to find a community rife with paranoia and secrets.
California doesn’t ponder how the world had ended there, in fact it’s largely skipped over, but how do they move forward, survive and really live?
The lack of specifics of how the world kind of fell apart is actually great – for once, it’s not a mix of reflections on downfall and the fight to survive; it’s the fact that Cal and Frida have been surviving, living day to day, and they want to move forward, to find something better for their future child.
It feels like you’re hopping in at the midst of the apocalypse, where civilisation is still a hope that people cling to when all else falls apart. Lepucki doesn’t fluff the descriptions – when you’re living for years in the wild, you’d be grubby and stink – and the descriptions of that absolute rankness kind of makes you screw up your nose, but are totally on point.
It’s a tale of family, survival and trust. California was the kind of book that I thought about when I put it down, when I pondered about Micah, or the implications of Frida’s pregnancy. I actively wanted to know what happened, and while the ending wasn’t necessarily where I would have expected it to go (up until about maybe 10 pages before), the journey to get there had me hook, line and sinker.
Pub: 8th Jul 2014 | Little Brown Book Group UK
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