Review: Gold Fame Citrus – Claire Vaye Watkins.

In a parched southern California of the near future, Luz, once the poster child for the country’s conservation movement, and Ray, an army deserter turned surfer, are squatting in a starlet’s abandoned mansion. Most “Mojavs,” prevented by armed vigilantes from freely crossing borders to lusher regions, have allowed themselves to be evacuated to encampments in the east. Holdouts like Ray and Luz subsist on rationed cola and water, and whatever they can loot, scavenge, and improvise.

When in doubt, turn to books. The pair come across a mysterious child, Ig, who may hold the key to all their problems. In what’s ultimately a pretty terrible setting to be in, the writing crafts it vividly. They’re parched, you feel it. It’s in the future following undisclosed happenings, but it’s not farfetched.

It’s dust and drought, it’s unsettling, but like any good dystopian-type novel, there’s the people who make it all that more off-kilter. The cults, those out of control, those who just kind of creep you out in an already weird situation.

It has powerful smacks, it has moments that make you sit back and go ‘Huh?’, but for me it was a little too slow. Maybe it’s life needing pages that demand to be turned, not lines needing to be scrutinised. Having said that, would recommend for those able to really sit and give time to the book. I have my own nitpicks, but, as shown, I think it’s got a lot of hooks about it and an intriguing story.

4th February 2016 | Quercus Books

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