Friday, March 4, 2016

California by Edan Lepucki

California by Edan Lepucki has a fine strong start, which peters out near the end. In an interview Lepucki explained that she wanted to write a “domestic” post-apocalyptic novel. She wanted to explore the dynamics of a couple progressively doing without the things that make our world livable (shampoo, razors, hot water) and that is certainly how the novel starts.

Unfortunately, Lepucki get a bit lost after she enters the “Land” community. Suddenly, she is dealing with the wider world of extra and inter-community politics and relationships and the novel becomes increasingly opaque. She is unable to handle all the plot lines she has laid out, and by the end the two characters wind up in a place and situation that are not really adequately explained.

Overall, this is a good novel, but not exceptional. The writer has taken on more than she can handle, and it shows in the general muddle of plot trajectory and character motivations as the story progresses.

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