The Golden State (Compact Disc)
Email or call for price.
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.
Displacement is simply incredible. This story follows a young girl, Kiku, living in San Fransisco who has been making small efforts to connect with her Japanese American descent, when suddenly, Kiku begins to be whisked away in time and place—what she calls being “displaced”—and she realizes she is being pulled into the time of Japanese American incarceration during WWII. These displacements keep happening, until suddenly, Kiku is trapped in the past. She is displaced into a Japanese incarceration camp, and must learn to live during this terrible time and place for her fellow Japanese Americans, without knowing if she’ll ever return. This graphic novel is so quietly powerful and so superbly genius in the way it tells the story. Kiku discusses these displacements and how horrifying it is to be taken from her home and unsure of when she’ll ever get back—which functions as a perfect allegory to the very experience of those Japanese Americans who were taken from their homes and their lives wrongfully, without knowing where they were going or how long they’d be there. It connects the reader to this painful, real experience in an amazing way. This graphic novel is also deeply educational, taking you through many facets and details of the experience of those Japanese Americans who lived through these camps, while also pointing out how limited public education is around this terrible part of our American history. Displacement will stay with me forever; this gem is a must-have for any graphic novel collection, and an extremely important read for all Americans.
(Graphic Novel, Ages 10+) - reviewed by Isabel