California

  • by Edan Lepucki
  • Narrated by Emma Galvin
  • 12 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've 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 each 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 realize 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.

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What the Critics Say

"Stunning and brilliant.... A wholly original take on the post-apocalypse genre." (Dan Chaon, author Await Your Reply)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not Deserving of The Colbert Bump

I'm not sure California by Edan Lepucki deserved the Colbert bump. The book was featured a month before its release on The Colbert Report, when Stephen Colbert was reporting on the Hachette v Amazon dispute. The concept sounded fascinating. A husband and wife in California after the world has been desecrated. You never do learn what happened but it sounds like a combination of war, global warming, and society just breaking down.

So what's wrong with California the novel? Pretty much everything. The book doesn't really have the necessary elements of a good story. Like a beginning middle or end. The book is just there. You meet the focus of the book Cal (short for Calvin and also his nickname California) and Frida who are living in the wilderness after escaping Los Angeles. Without going into too much of the plot (or the minor resemblance's of a plot) its about their survival and the survival of those around them.

I was listening to the audiobook and kept looking at the time left in the book and was wondering when something was going to happen. Yet nothing ever really happens. Frida complains and Cal consoles, and their characters switch roles a few times, but in all honesty nothing happens in this book. Both characters come off flat, and just have little to no redeeming quality.

I guess that's my biggest issue with California. Where in a book like The Road you've got the main protagonists to root for in this bleak existence, I found myself not necessarily caring about what happened to any character in California. And then the book just ends. Rather abruptly going ahead briefly in time and then just ends. I listened to the ending a few times hoping that I missed something. Nope the book just ends and thus ends my review on California. An interesting concept that led to a lackluster book.
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- Joel "Joel Szerlip"

Could not get past the horrible narration

What didn’t you like about Emma Galvin’s performance?

The narrator consistently emphasized the wrong words in sentences, mainly verbs, e.g. He WENT (pause) to the river. She WALKED (pause) to the house. Also a lot of super strange pauses for no reason.

I listened to Divergent by the same narrator and thought the narration was fine, not great, but certainly passable. I'm not sure if she didn't get a chance to read the book ahead of time or what, but it became too frustrating to listen to the horrible narration. Once you begin noticing it, it's impossible to focus on the story.


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- G. A.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2014
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio