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The Golden State

af Lydia Kiesling

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1598132,609 (3.62)11
In Lydia Kiesling's debut novel, we accompany Daphne, a young mother on the edge of a breakdown, as she flees her sensible but strained life in San Francisco for the high desert of Altavista with her toddler, Honey. Bucking under the weight of being a single parent--her Turkish husband is unable to return to the United States because of a "processing error"--Daphne takes refuge in a mobile home left to her by her grandparents in hopes that the quiet will bring clarity.… (mere)
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Engelsk (7)  Piratisk (1)  Alle sprog (8)
Viser 1-5 af 8 (næste | vis alle)
Attempting to distance herself from unpleasantness in her work and personal life, Daphne takes an impromptu trip to her family home in the high desert of northern California only to find new challenges there.

This novel reads a bit like funny Kafka. The style---present-tense, long comma-less lists--- grates a bit at times, but Daphne is relatable in her maternal anxieties and her craving for a sense of place, and the story is interesting. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Jun 28, 2020 |
Daphne is raising her toddler daughter Honey alone in San Francisco, working in an international institute at a University and dealing with the green card limbo of her Turkish husband. A tragedy on a trip she set up and the pressure of single parenting cause her to pack her car and her toddler and move abruptly to the California high desert, where she owns a mobile home inherited from her mother and her grandparents. She is seeking clarity, but over the next 10 days she drinks too much, wanders aimlessly around the town, and befriends an nonagenarian on a pilgrimage to a once happy place. Raw and emotional, this debut novel explores themes of motherhood, grief, and the difficulties of multi cultural marriage. ( )
  rglossne | Jan 6, 2020 |
Stylistically this is excellent. The close focus on the day-to-day childcare of a toddler, with all the pleasure and frustration and mind-numbing boredom that it entails, made me flash back to days when I was doing that kind of labor. Reading the book doesn't just recall those days, though, it makes you relive them through the endless descriptions of a mundanity that can occasionally become something magical and profound (before relapsing into mundanity). The novel is divided into chapters for each day covered, ten in all, and each day is minutely documented, from morning to night. It's a bit like Reservoir 13 in that sense, although I didn't think of the latter book at all while I was reading.

The story is told entirely from the Daphne's point of view, in present tense, with lots of run-on sentences. Honey, her daughter, is almost always endearing, which is quite a feat considering she is a very believable and realistic 16-month-old. Toward the end, when the plot ramps up, Honey recedes a bit into the background and becomes conveniently less troublesome, but for the most part she is on every page.

The substance of the material apart from the mother-daughter storyline is what brings my evaluation down. Daphne exhibits a 21stC type of Orientalism, even as she's aware of trying to be sympathetic and non-Orientalist (the term comes up regularly). She obsesses more about losing her Turkish language skills than she does about possibly separating from her Turkish husband, who is stuck in Turkey because of a green card mixup by the US government that they are taking months to resolve. No character except for "the crone," who eventually transforms into Alice the interesting old lady, rises above a stereotype, and everyone is filtered through Daphne's solipsistic (although, once again, self-aware) worldview. The State of Jefferson subplot is a caricature worthy of a (caricature of a) Berkeley academic (faculty, staff or student), but maybe it is supposed to be? And the idea that Daphne's family aren't the original settlers of Paiute County is paid lip-service but functionally they and their fellow pioneers are the original inhabitants.

I can see why this has received such strong endorsements, but for me the drawbacks outweighed the stylistic strengths. ( )
  Sunita_p | May 17, 2019 |
This one starts out slow & seems to get slower. The life of a scholar, her daughter and Turkish husband has so much potential but it has bored & depressed me into not even finishing it. I’m absolutely interested in the musings of Daphne’s life in Turkey and her husband’s outings, but it’s the long, drawn out day to day in the high country of CA with her that I am lost to boredom. I’m sorry, I just can’t continue.
*I received an arc from the publisher through NetGalley for an honest review ( )
  KimMcReads | Mar 31, 2019 |
This is a fine book, I have nothing to complain about, but after 60 pages I felt like I got all that I was going to get out of it. I think I would have liked it compressed into a short story. I'm glad other GR readers are giving it 4 or 5 stars and I'm not going to rate it, since I think it just wasn't the book for me.
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
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In Lydia Kiesling's debut novel, we accompany Daphne, a young mother on the edge of a breakdown, as she flees her sensible but strained life in San Francisco for the high desert of Altavista with her toddler, Honey. Bucking under the weight of being a single parent--her Turkish husband is unable to return to the United States because of a "processing error"--Daphne takes refuge in a mobile home left to her by her grandparents in hopes that the quiet will bring clarity.

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