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Lydia Kiesling Book Release
September 4, 2018 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Lydia Kiesling joins us to celebrate the release of her new novel, The Golden State, with Ismail Muhammad.
Praise for The Golden State
“The Golden State is a perfect evocation of the beautiful, strange, frightening, funny territory of new motherhood. Lydia Kiesling writes with great intelligence and candor about the surreal topography of a day with an infant, and toggles skillfully between the landscape of Daphne’s interior and the California desert, her postpartum body and the body politic. A love story for our fractured era.”—Karen Russell, author of Vampires in the Lemon Grove and Swamplandia!
“The Golden State is 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. In Lydia Kiesling’s remarkable first novel, the familiar and the foreign are not so different after all, and what we remember may not be what is. A profound book.”—Edan Lepucki, author of Woman No. 17 and California
“The Golden State is spectacularly good at rendering maternal obsession and panic, and the way the narcissism involved in the attempt to hold one’s self together can turn frenetic caring to neglect. Separated from a husband stuck abroad with a green card situation and wrung out by the relentlessness of toddler-rearing, millennial Daphne, in her traumatized withdrawal from a privileged life, registers that despite her intelligence, her life has been comprised not so much of decisions as realities that seemed to ecstatically assert themselves at the time, and that all of the measures she employs to deal with stress involve harm she’ll now be passing along to her cherished child. Lydia Kiesling is brilliant on our certainty that for all we feel, we don’t do nearly enough for those we love.”—Jim Shepard, author of The World to Come
About The Golden State
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.