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The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling
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The Golden State

$17.96 USD

Retail price (USD): $19.95

Discount: 10%

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Narrator Amanda Dolan
Length 9 hours 9 minutes
Language English
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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.

Lydia Kiesling is the editor of the Millions. She has been chosen as one of “5 under 35,” and heer 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. She lives in San Francisco with her family.

Amanda Dolan is a professional actor in the MFA program at Brown University. Her credits include Richard III, Macbeth, Falsettos, The Rocky Horror Show, Hair, and The Who’s Tommy.

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Reviews

"The Golden State anchors Daphne’s journey in the visceral and material realities of motherhood…The novel beautifully depicts the golden light of California.”

“Kiesling vividly renders the high desert town, its beauty and its starkness, its juniper-scented air and its neglect…Kiesling is also an astute cultural commentator, shedding light on our current political divide.”

“In heartrending prose, Kiesling weaves through an exploration of the political and the private, fear and love, survival and obligation, loneliness and longing.”

“With characters that ring vocally and emotionally true, narrator Amanda Dolan takes us to a place where achieving a state of happiness seems both obvious and impossible…Dolan, while giving full weight to Daphne’s paralyzing despair, also captures her delight in and love for her child…Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award.”

“A lyrical look at the often alienating, disorienting experience of early motherhood.”

“The book has all the elements…flow, language, ideas, surprises, humor, and a great big heart.”

“Depicts parenting in the digital age with humor and brutal honesty.”

“Kiesling is a talented author…with a unique voice. She’s very smart, very funny, and wonderfully empathetic…A skilled and promising writer.”

“Encapsulates the intense and often conflicting feelings of early parenthood: frustration, tenderness, isolation.”

“A perfect evocation of the beautiful, strange, frightening, funny territory of new motherhood.”

“A rare and important novel not only because it depicts with blazing accuracy the everyday experience of raising a young child but also because it uses the quotidian to reveal larger truths about humanity’s gifts and deficits.”

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