The sunshine state lies in darkness.
Los Angeles is in ruins, left to the angels now.
And the world Cal and Frida have always known is gone.
Cal and Frida have left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable despite the isolation and hardships they face. Consumed by fear of the future and mourning for a past they can't reclaim, they seek comfort and solace in one other. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant.
Terrified of the unknown but unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realise this community poses its own dangers. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.
A gripping and provocative debut novel by a stunning new talent,California imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind's dark nature and irrepressible resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love.
Edan Lepucki is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop and is a staff writer for the influential blog The Millions. Her work has already appeared in publications including McSweeny's, LA Times Magazineand Best American Short Stories 2012.
Imaginative, inventive and beautifully written, California is both a shocking and engrossing read — Rosamund Lupton, bestselling author of Sister
This bestselling debut, with shades of 1984 and The Road thrusts an ordinary American couple into a frightening future.. . . powerful and creepy . . . Lepucki has given expression to a generational anxiety about the near future, one rooted in the threat of environmental crisis and the loss of meaningful cultural institutions (including the printed book). The experience of reading California brings validation to anyone who sits upright in the middle of the night struck with the instability of the human project on this planet: others are awake, too. And a lot of us are reading California. — Amity Gaige, Folio prize-shortlisted author of Schroder, Guardian
Atwood-esque . . . literary and elegant in a smooth, unforced way, with that droll sense of humour and a relentlessly clear eye . . . very, very good — Belfast Telegraph
Breathtakingly original, fearless and inventive, pitch perfect in its portrayal of the intimacies and tiny betrayals of marriage, so utterly gripping it demands to be read in one sitting: Edan Lepucki's California is the novel you have been waiting for, the novel that perfectly captures the hopes and anxieties of contemporary America. This is a novel that resonates on every level, a novel that stays with you for a lifetime. Read it now — Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year
Edan Lepucki's electrifying debut novel California has everything you want from a great pool-side read. Gripping and provocative . . . You won't be able to put it down — Irish Tatler
In her arresting debut novel, Edan Lepucki conjures a lush, intricate, deeply disturbing vision of the future, then masterfully exploits its dramatic possibilities — Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad
An expansive, full-bodied and masterful narrative of humans caught in the most extreme situations, with all of our virtues and failings on full display: courage, cowardice, trust, betrayal, honor and expedience. The final eighty pages of this book gripped me as much as any fictional denouement I've encountered in recent years . . . I firmly believe that Edan Lepucki is on the cusp of a long, strong career in American letters — Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
This thrilling and thoughtful debut novel by Edan Lepucki follows a young married couple navigating dangers both physical and emotional in a wild, mysterious post-collapse America. It's a vivid, believable picture of a not-so-distant future and the timeless negotiation of young marriage, handled with suspense and psychological acuity — Janet Fitch, author of Paint it Black
It's tempting to call this novel post-apocalyptic, but really, it's about an apocalypse in progress, an apocalypse that might already be happening, one that doesn't so much break life into before and after as unravel it bit by bit. Edan Lepucki tells her tale with preternatural clarity and total believability, in large part by focusing on the relationships -- between husband and wife, brother and sister, parent and child -- that are, it turns out, apocalypse-proof. Post-nothing. California is timeless — Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
There's been no shortage of apocalyptic scenarios in our recent literature. What makes Edan Lepucki's novel so stunning is that her survivors don't merely resemble us, they are us, in their emotional particularity and dilemmas. The result is a book as terse and terrifying as the best of Shirley Jackson, on the one hand, and as clear-eyed and profound a portrait of a marriage as Evan Connell's Mrs. Bridge, on the other. California is superb — Matthew Specktor, author of American Dream Machine
Stunning and brilliant novel, which is a wholly original take on the post-apocalypse genre, an end-of-the-world we've never seen before and yet is uncomfortably believable and recognizable. By turns funny and heartbreaking, scary and tender, beautifully written and compulsively page-turning, this is a book that will haunt me, and that I'll be thankful to return to in the years to come. It left me speechless. Read it, and prepare yourself — Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply
California is a wonder: a big, gripping and inventive story built on quiet, precise human moments. Edan Lepucki's eerie near future is vividly and persuasively imagined. She is a fierce new presence in American fiction — Dana Spiotta, author of Stone Arabia
In her remarkable debut California, Edan Lepucki has conjured a post-apocalyptic vision that is honest, frightening, and altogether too realistic. At times disturbing and often heartbreaking, California is an original examination of the limitations of family and loyalty in a world on the verge of collapse — Ivy Pochoda, author of Visitation Street
Edan Lepucki is the very best kind of writer: simultaneously generous and precise. I am long been an admirer of her prose, but this book---this book, this massive, brilliant book---is a four alarm fire, the ambitious and rich introduction that a writer of her caliber deserves. I can't wait for the world to know what I have known for so many years, that Edan Lepucki is the real thing, and that we will all be bowing at her feet before long — Emma Straub, author of Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures
Lepucki's first novel elegantly adds to a canon of dystopian fiction wiht a fresh examination of prejudice, ethics, technology, and relationships' — Manchester Evening News
Compulsively page turning, you may not come out of the basement until you finish it, or the world ends — Yen
a timely reminder of what could so easily happen if climate change and wealth divisions continue to be
— Adelaide Advertiser
Lepucki imbues her post-apocalyptic tale with elements of a Greek tragedy to show how vulnerable our notions of civilisation can be — Weekend West
Lepucki's sure control of language and occasional flashes of humour... the fantastical elements provide a symbolic language with which to satirise and explore elements of contemporary society — Weekend Australian
Lepucki weaves an engrossing story of loss, hope and the inability of people to leave behind their destructive traits — Hyper
What makes Lepucki's vision so unsettling is its total plausibility...California has contemporary American politics clearly in its sights. — Patrick Flanery, Times Literary Supplement