Claire Vaye Watkins
WHO is Claire Vaye Watkins? Her bio here: And she is someone to WATCH! With the novel published by Rivermouth or Riverhead or RiverRun publishers, I always forget their name, a top NYC boutique HIGH LITERARY FICTION shop, you can bet your ARC that this novel will get top billing reviews in all the top literary book review platforms, from the New York Times to NPR to the Guardian to the New York Review of Books and Cli-Fi Net.
So Yes: MOVE OVER Paolo Bacigalupi and ''The Water Knife'': Claire Vaye Watkins #clifi novel 'GOLDEN FLAME CITRUS' is ''Cali Cli-Fi'' triumph of the first order! Read it see the future of Droughtlandia West Coast version
hat tip to Twitter creative thinker Alex Bowles for the coinage of "Cali Cli-Fi" -- his new term and I love it! Includes cli fi novels like THE WATER KNIFE and THE SUBPRIMES by Karl Taro Greenfeld and a dozen more Droughtlandia novels coming this fall season and next spring.
Begins like this: The opening portion of the book. California and a large part of the west are suffering severe drought and the area has become like a police state to keep the survivors in order. We're introduced to a pair of lovers and in time a child.
Said one Amazon reviewer: ''I've read a few post-apocalyptic and dystopian books in the last several years that take place in California, so here we have a drought so severe it's turned the entire southwest into a desert [shades of THE WATER KNIFE?], siphoning off water tables and draining everything dry, and I really thought this would be one more book about a horrific future for California [ that is to say, 'Cali Cli-Fi' ]. What we have here isn't exactly that, though. At the start we have two people, Luz and Ray, who have somehow found each other instead of evacuating from the Los Angeles area when they could, and by this point it's been a while - they are pretty much living in total apathy in an abandoned starlet's house in the hills.
They find a toddler and basically steal her and this gives them a sense of purpose and momentum and they head out away from Los Angeles and I thought the book would become a bit 'Mad Max', but instead it was closer to a mini 'The Stand' and it definitely had a few twists that changed the story until who knows where it's going.
I did think this was worth the read, but it almost falls more in the straight up literature category [which is why the publisher is calling it LITERARY FICTION and not CLI-FI or SF]. It was really creative and this dystopian world seemed very well thought out. There are little things that always bug me about imagined futures, but none of those were here. In fact, at one point some of the characters spend time watching television, and here as in other parts of the book there is quite a lot of detail and description of this realistic part of the future (some humor, too.) The desert also seemed quite well thought out and researched.''
ReviewPraise for Gold Fame Citrus:
"[Gold Fame Citrus] burns with a dizzying, scorching genius.” -Vanity Fair“Watkin’s narrative is mythic and speculative, its sediment forming and re-forming in lists, treatises, and reports. The writing, with its tough sentimentality, is reminiscent of Denis Johnson’s, but Watkins has a style of mordant observation all her own.” -Harper's
“At once beautiful and profoundly unsettling, [Gold Fame Citrus] sears its way into the brain, burning hot through the devastating journey and lingering long after the last page is turned.” -Elle
"Unsettingly resonant...Watkins, whose brilliant short-story collection, Battleborn, revealed a deep understanding of the darker American mythologies, finds it’s not simply water we’re thirsty for.” -Vogue
"A blockbuster novel." -Entertainment Weekly
“A stunning read, its language rich and complex, and its story frightening and poignant.” -Hello Giggles
“Instantly entrancing, alluring as a mirage, and filled with peril, mystery, sandstorms, the occult, and a cast of nuanced characters.” -Los Angeles Magazine
"A glaring speculation into a future that doesn't seem quite so unthinkable...moving and original.” -Pop Sugar
"Watkins is a ridiculously talented writer... so it’s no surprise at all that her first novel...has already received unanimous raves…Gold Fame Citrus is one book I will happily shell out hardcover money for the second it comes out.” -The Gloss
"Sure to cement the young writer’s literary reputation.” -San Antonio Express-News
“This could be a breakout season for Claire Vaye Watkins, who is becoming one of fiction’s newest authorities on the West." -Vegas Seven
“A tour-de-force first novel blisters with drought, myth, and originality….On each page [Watkins] spikes her novel with a ticking, musical intelligence… Praised for writing landscape, Watkins’ grasp of the body is just as rousing. Into the vast desert she sets loose snakes and gurus, the Messianic pulse of end times. Critics will reference Annie Proulx’s bite and Joan Didion’s hypnotic West, but Watkins is magnificently original.” –Kirkus (starred)
“Spectacular… In Margaret Atwood mode, Watkins spikes this fast-moving, high-tension, sexyecocrisis saga with caustic parodies and resounding allusions that cohere into a knowing and elegiac tale of scrappy adaptation and epic loss.” –Booklist (starred)
“Packed with persuasive detail, luminous writing, and a grasp of the history (popular, political, natural and imagined) needed to tell a story that is original yet familiar, strange yet all too believable.” –Publisher's Weekly (starred)
"In her powerful depictions of the scorched and merciless landscape, Watkins realizes a genuine nostalgia for our lost living world, and the American West in particular...[W]ith its damaged and complicated heroine and multiple voices, shifting perspectives, and unconventional narrative devices, [Gold Fame Citrus] is a wholly original work."– Library Journal (starred)
“Exhilarating, upsetting, delirious, bold, Gold Fame Citrus is a head rush of a novel and establishes Claire Vaye Watkins as an important new voice in American literature.” –Louise Erdrich, author of The Round House
"An extraordinary novel: relentlessly brilliant, utterly fearless, and often savagely funny. Watkins explores the maze of human thirst in all its forms. Here's a love story that tracks the mutating hopes of two lost souls, in prose that is fever-bright and ferociously assured, against the backdrop of the Great American Desert. More confirmation that Watkins is one of the brightest stars in our firmament."
--Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
“Gold Fame Citrus is a sun-hammered fever dream, not unlike the shimmering, sweltering Southwest it depicts. Your heart will be wrung out by the journey of Luz, Raymond, and Ig. Your imagination will feast on the assured depiction of a near-future that is burnt to a crisp. And you’ll hope it’s all a mirage as Watkins renders a hot and very plausible future with the frightening force of a burning inevitability.”
--Smith Henderson, author of Fourth of July Creek
“An unforgettable journey into a hauntingly imagined near-future. With her mind-bending vision, breathtaking storytelling and utterly original voice, Claire Vaye Watkins is one of my favorite writers.” – Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being
“A gripping, audacious novel, plausibly imagined in all its remarkable details. With Claire Vaye Watkins there was never promise: it was achievement from the start, and this book repays her admirers in spades."
--Thomas McGuane, author of Crow Fair
Praise for Battleborn:
“Dazzling.” –O, The Oprah Magazine
"The most captivating voice to come out of the West since Annie Proulx - though it's to early Joan Didion that [Watkins] bears comparison for her arid humor and cut-to-the-chase knowingness." –Vogue
"Absorbing… [Battleborn’s] true setting is a Faulknerian desert of the heart, where the soil is cursed by its precious metals and one’s personal history can be just as toxic. Clear-eyed and nimble in parsing the lives of her Westerners, one of Watkins’s strengths is not dodging that the simple fact that love can be tragic, involving, as it does, humans so flawed, so often tender and yet incapable.” –The Boston Globe
“Although individual stories stand alone, together they tell the tale of a place, and of the population that thrives and perishes therein… The historical sits comfortably alongside the contemporary and the factual nicely supplements the fictional… Readers will share in the environs of the author and her characters, be taken into the hardship of a pitiless place and emerge on the other side—wiser, warier and weathered like the landscape.” –Antonya Nelson, The New York Times Book Review
About the AuthorClaire Vaye Watkins is the author of Battleborn and a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” fiction writer, as well as the recipient of the Story Prize, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’s Rosenthal Family Foundation Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among many other honors. Her stories and essays have appeared in Granta, One Story, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, Best of the West 2011, Best of the Southwest 2013, and elsewhere. An assistant professor at the University of Michigan, Watkins has also taught at Bucknell and Princeton, and she and her husband, the writer Derek Palacio, are codirectors of the Mojave School, a creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.
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