Monday, January 4, 2016

Review: Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins

Blurb from Goodreads:
In a parched southern California of the near future, Luz, once the poster child for the country’s conservation movement, and Ray, an army deserter turned surfer, are squatting in a starlet’s abandoned mansion. Most “Mojavs,” prevented by armed vigilantes from freely crossing borders to lusher regions, have allowed themselves to be evacuated to encampments in the east. Holdouts like Ray and Luz subsist on rationed cola and water, and whatever they can loot, scavenge, and improvise.

For the moment, the couple’s fragile love, which somehow blooms in this arid place, seems enough. But when they cross paths with a mysterious child, the thirst for a better future begins. Heading east, they are waylaid in the desert by a charming and manipulative dowser – a diviner for water -- and his cultlike followers, who have formed a colony in a mysterious sea of dunes.

Immensely moving, profoundly disquieting, and mind-blowingly original, Watkins’s novel explores the myths we believe about others and tell about ourselves, the double-edged power of our most cherished relationships, and the shape of hope in a precarious future that may be our own.
My Review:
I am definitely starting 2016 off right by making this my first read.  I don't think I've EVER highlighted a book so much -- every single passage was so beautiful, so astonishing.  I hate to even try to tell you about this book or lump it into some category -- part dystopian, part literary fiction, every single part gorgeous.  I got lost in the world, in the descriptions, in the language.  If you've ever lived in the Southwestern U.S., ever visited, ever cared a single shred about it -- you must read this book. 

I highly recommend this to fans of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel or The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (or anything by either author), truly, two of my all time favorites.   This book is an outstanding novel debut (the author has also written a book of stories, which I can't wait to read).  Incomprehensibly beautiful book.

Gold Fame Citrus came out last year, you can purchase HERE, and I highly, HIGHLY recommend it! 
"Some people I know have a place.  Even if they didn't, Hoosiers aren't quitters.  California people are quitters.  No offense.  It's just you've got restlessness in your blood." 
"I don't," she said, but he went on.   
"Your people came here looking for something better.  Gold, fame, citrus.  Mirage.  They were feckless, yeah?  Schemers.  That's why no one wants them now. Mojavs."


  1. I love it when the writing of a book is so beautiful. I'm so glad that your first 2016 book was such a winner. I hope this sets the tone for the rest of the year for you! :)

  2. Gah I love the sound of this one. I hadn't heard of it before either. I really enjoyed Station Eleven so I will for sure be checking this out!

  3. It's rare when I find a book that I highlight almost the entire thing; there have been just a slight few. I'm glad this one worked for you, and your enthusiasm about it makes me want to bump it up.

  4. I love books like this! If only they could all be like this right?
    Wonderful review and thanks so much for putting this on my radar!

  5. This sounds so good! I loved Station Eleven, so your comparison is making me really want to read this. Thanks for reviewing it!


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