As part of reblogbookclub, I was sent a copy of California by Edan Lepucki which is a book about betrayal and forgiveness. Also, it deals with the apocalypse, etc. etc.
I loved this book. The characters were so complex and interesting, as were their relationships with each other. It was hard for me to determine whether or not Cal and Frida were together because they needed each other or because they loved each other, which I think was the maybe the point. I don’t think the characters themselves knew definitively why they were together. There were moments between them where I could see that they felt so much affection for each other, but there are also moments where it seemed like they didn’t want to speak to each other at all and kept secrets out of spite. Their relationship felt very real to me, and I loved seeing them try to prepare for parenthood.
Originally, I thought this book would be about rebirth, and I guess it is? Except instead of the cleansing connotation that “rebirth” usually carries, the characters are reborn into a worse situation every time. I felt so bad for the Cal and Frida as they learned more about the community they tried to join. Without giving away the ending completely, I thought it was inevitable and sad and perfect. You can see hints of where they might end up as you read, and while they may be victims of circumstance at some points in the story, I thought there was no other way to leave these two characters. They’ve earned this ending.
I think this book works on a lot of different levels. It’s just a great story. It’s entertaining, and all of the characters are drawn so well. But I think the book also has a lot to say about power structures and ethics. Lit theory nerds will love how Lepucki explores semiotics all the way through the text, but I think the jokes and metaphors work even for readers who aren’t familiar with the theory behind it. (Honestly, I think this is maybe one of the best and most engaging books that could be used to help teach lit theory? Lit theory is dry, it could use some help staying relevant, tbh.)
Idk, I loved it. I’m gonna look for Edan’s novella, and then after that I guess I’ll just sit here and wait impatiently for her next project.