Customer Reviews for

California

Average Rating 3
( 41 )
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(7)

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(11)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

California is Edan Lepucki's debut novel. I am infatuated with

California is Edan Lepucki's debut novel.

I am infatuated with dystopian and apocalyptic novels. The description of California immediately caught my eye...

"The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles fa...
California is Edan Lepucki's debut novel.

I am infatuated with dystopian and apocalyptic novels. The description of California immediately caught my eye...

"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 a shack in the wilderness, working side by side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship.....But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is turned upside down when Frida finds out she's pregnant."

There hasn't been a great nuclear war or one significant event that has heralded the end of the world that Cal and Frida knew. Instead it has been a series of natural disasters and reluctant but necessary acceptance of the way things are now. Society has eroded into the haves and the have nots. While Cal and Frida make their home in a shack, those that can afford to, live in safe, gated communities with food, health care and more. I immediately thought that this scenario is not that far off - having just read a newspaper story of water being turned off - the city of Detroit sprang to mind.

I wanted to know to know more about the erosion of society, but this isn't the focus of the book. Instead it is what comes after. I also wanted to know what lay beyond the woods that Cal and Frida have settled in. Are the rumours of other outsider settlements true?

I'm always fascinated by an author's world building in such novels. Lepucki does a good job imagining what might be. I think because it is so 'near future' and absolutely believable that the world of California is all the more chilling.

There are a great number of varied characters populating California. Of the two lead characters I was drawn to and empathized with Cal. I have to say that I didn't like Frida at all as I found her spoiled and selfish. But several of the players from 'beyond' the woods really captured my interest.

Much, if not most of the book, is focused on the characters and their interactions - between couples, family, friends and strangers. A society rebuilding does not necessarily learn from it's past mistakes. Much of what happens can be sadly predicted. Lepucki infuses this rebuilding with a plot that was slowly (and a bit maddeningly) revealed. The buildup to the end in the last quarter of the book is tension and action filled and had me reading just another chapter before bed. But the actual ending left me feeling somewhat unfulfilled. I found it anti-climatic after the journey to get there. It's a bit nebulous, leaving the reader to their own inferences as to what happens going forward.

Still, California was a strong debut and I would be interested in reading Lepucki's next novel.

posted by Twink on July 11, 2014

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

It starts out great, pretty promising. But then it goes south q

It starts out great, pretty promising. But then it goes south quickly and the ending seems like there must have been a deadline to meet. I almost quit reading it but made myself see it through. Disappointing.

posted by cstmoi9322 on July 14, 2014

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  • Posted July 11, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    California is Edan Lepucki's debut novel. I am infatuated with

    California is Edan Lepucki's debut novel.

    I am infatuated with dystopian and apocalyptic novels. The description of California immediately caught my eye...

    "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 a shack in the wilderness, working side by side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship.....But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is turned upside down when Frida finds out she's pregnant."

    There hasn't been a great nuclear war or one significant event that has heralded the end of the world that Cal and Frida knew. Instead it has been a series of natural disasters and reluctant but necessary acceptance of the way things are now. Society has eroded into the haves and the have nots. While Cal and Frida make their home in a shack, those that can afford to, live in safe, gated communities with food, health care and more. I immediately thought that this scenario is not that far off - having just read a newspaper story of water being turned off - the city of Detroit sprang to mind.

    I wanted to know to know more about the erosion of society, but this isn't the focus of the book. Instead it is what comes after. I also wanted to know what lay beyond the woods that Cal and Frida have settled in. Are the rumours of other outsider settlements true?

    I'm always fascinated by an author's world building in such novels. Lepucki does a good job imagining what might be. I think because it is so 'near future' and absolutely believable that the world of California is all the more chilling.

    There are a great number of varied characters populating California. Of the two lead characters I was drawn to and empathized with Cal. I have to say that I didn't like Frida at all as I found her spoiled and selfish. But several of the players from 'beyond' the woods really captured my interest.

    Much, if not most of the book, is focused on the characters and their interactions - between couples, family, friends and strangers. A society rebuilding does not necessarily learn from it's past mistakes. Much of what happens can be sadly predicted. Lepucki infuses this rebuilding with a plot that was slowly (and a bit maddeningly) revealed. The buildup to the end in the last quarter of the book is tension and action filled and had me reading just another chapter before bed. But the actual ending left me feeling somewhat unfulfilled. I found it anti-climatic after the journey to get there. It's a bit nebulous, leaving the reader to their own inferences as to what happens going forward.

    Still, California was a strong debut and I would be interested in reading Lepucki's next novel.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2014

    Post-apocalyptic stories are generally my favorite so I was draw

    Post-apocalyptic stories are generally my favorite so I was drawn to read this book.  I was excited as It was a take on the end of the world that wasn't necessarily about zombies or full on war.  It had promise but really fell short.  The writing is good, settings are intriguing, but to be honest Frida and Cal are pretty delusional, unlike-able characters.  There marriage is weak at best - much of the novel is spent lying and keeping things from one another.  Frida is childish - it is mentioned that Cal sees her as this strong independent woman but she doesn't act a bit like this.  Cal is supposed to be this rugged, intellectual hipster - but he doesn't think much through and is irrationally paranoid.  As for the plot itself it started out strong, but really falls short quickly.  The flashbacks are inconsistent and generally confusing.  Overall this really would have been much better if it just focused on the fall of society.  Would have been more interesting than what's here.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2014

    It starts out great, pretty promising. But then it goes south q

    It starts out great, pretty promising. But then it goes south quickly and the ending seems like there must have been a deadline to meet. I almost quit reading it but made myself see it through. Disappointing.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2014

    A disappointment, A snooze

    It was tempting to fast forward through parts of this book as the pacing was so slow and the plot so obviously silly. Not the worst book I have read, but definitely not one I would recommend for others to read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2014

    Mixed bag

    Although it took a few chapters to really get into the author's writing style, I did eventually get caught up in the storyline. I was VERY disappointed in the ending of the book. Since I purchased the eBook, I was quite shocked when I reached the end. I thought for sure that I somehow did not get all the chapters. Too many things left hanging. Even if the plan is to write a sequel.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2014

    Lame

    DONT GET IT

    2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2014

    Great

    Very good

    2 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2014

    Sucks

    Very boring

    2 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2014

    Waste of time..

    Waste of time..

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2014

    Awful

    Awful

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2014

    I haven't read the book but I am offended that you published a r

    I haven't read the book but I am offended that you published a review written in "diddle doodle". Isn't the English language in bad enough shape without this kind of nonsense. n

    1 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2014

    Good Read

    Interesting read, a bit uneven in a couple of places but overall a good book.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2014

    Very slow and boring to me.

    Very slow and boring to me.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    Boring

    I didnt like it. I wish i can give it 0 stars not worth the money

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2014

    Worst Book Ever

    Poorly written. Hated all of the characters. Starts off well then quickly makes a turn for the worst. Does the author actually know the meaning of the word feminist...

    Very fustrating how the characters refuse to really question or speak to each other for a multitude of chapters.

    Would have read better as a short story.

    All you need to know: turkey baster, the color red, a lover of baking, a lover of farming, a terroristic brother, a small crop of people surround by spikes with no kids, another crop of people who are better off, a big mouth and then the very lucky to be alive couple gets even luckier due to their own stupidity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2014

    Highly recommend

    I am not quite finished with the book but it is very good. You find yourself getting wrapped up in the experiences of the characters and you look forward to what will happen next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2014

    I never quit reading a book once I start, but I did with this on

    I never quit reading a book once I start, but I did with this one. I simply couldn't get interested due to the very slow pace and uninteresting characters. I guess I need more suspense than this book could provide.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2014

    Sucked

    First few chapters were alright,downhill after that.didn't know if I was going to finish it.

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  • Posted September 8, 2014

    Sadly, I was not in love with this. I was not in LIKE with this.

    Sadly, I was not in love with this. I was not in LIKE with this. I won't go so far as to say I hated it but it would not be a stretch.

    I'll go with the positives before I blather (most likely cause I'm a little annoyed) on about the negatives.

    Firstly, it started well. I enjoyed the way the mystery was starting to unfold. No idea was given as to HOW the world came to be the way it was, it just was! Really good start.

    And then the characters started talking...

    Segue into talking, let's talk narration. Oh, the narrator. I want to like this gal but her voice just kills me. I didn't realize until I turned this on that it was the same narrator as the Divergent series, and honestly if I would have known I may not have reviewed the audio version. Here's the thing, she can't do anything about her voice but there is a type of whine to it that just grates on my nerves. This on top of the whining from the main characters (more of me whining about that below) just made for a horrible combination. Although! There was one portion where she was describing a town and her voice changed for just a moment and the lines she read then were the best in the entire book. I wish she would narrate in that character rather than the much too whiny girl characters. It threw me off but sadly the story didn't help much either.

    My biggest gripe is that they are married and being married I understand that your spouse is not always going to be your favorite person. You may even keep a few secrets from your spouse, life goes on. With Frida and Cal they seem to not like each other and keep secrets ALL the time. What's even more frustrating is that they do not trust each other. Well, I wonder why you two idiots!!!? This theme was not just in one portion of the book but throughout the entire thing. Frustrating to say the least when you're trying to understand a character and just cannot because they whine too much and obsess over the smallest thing!

    Some of the mystery does come out, you find out why nobody likes the color red (which honestly still doesn't really make sense) and some other mysteries. Some of which I was able to peg before they were answered.

    Now, I will admit I am an apocalyptic, horror, dystopian lover so I may be a bit harsh in my judgement at the idea that these people would actually survive. I don't know really because fortunately none of that has happened. But, what has happened is that I did not like even for a moment, any of these characters. Not a one! All of them are ridiculous and there isn't any funny moments. Yes it's apocalyptic but there has to be a class clown somewhere in there! Someone to lighten the very disheartening mood, maybe?


    Audiobook provided for review by Hachette AUdio.

    Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com

    [If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

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  • Posted September 7, 2014

    2.5 stars Those who follow my reviews will know that I just rea

    2.5 stars

    Those who follow my reviews will know that I just read a particularly poor example of post-apocalyptic fiction, so I followed that experience by picking up California, which Dan Chaon has described as "[s]tunning," "brilliant," and "[a] wholly original take on the post-apocalypse genre." While Lepucki's writing was a definite improvement over G. Michael Hopf's, California did not live up to my expectations.

    Much is made of Frida's possession of a turkey baster. It's no plot spoiler to note that the book's plot is driven primarily by Frida becoming pregnant, so why would Frida have "wondered if they [she and her husband Cal] might use it to try to get pregnant someday"? The baster never lives up to its totemic status, and the rest of the book similarly fails to fulfill its promises. Lepucki repeatedly sets up tension - over the color red, Frida's brother's death, Cal's college experiences - only to either undercut it or allow it to dissipate without any logical explanation.

    I have to agree with Kirkus Reviews on this one: "This has the bones of an excellent book, but, sadly, an untenable amount of flab is covering them."

    I received a free copy of California through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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