Summary and book reviews of Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins

Gold Fame Citrus

by Claire Vaye Watkins

Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins X
Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2015, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2016, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte
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About this Book

Book Summary

The much-anticipated first novel from a Story Prize-winning "5 Under 35" fiction writer; Named a Hot Fall Read by Vogue, Mashable, Vanity Fair, Pop Sugar, Kirkus, Hello Giggles, and Los Angeles Magazine.

In 2012, Claire Vaye Watkins's story collection, Battleborn, swept nearly every award for short fiction. Now this young writer, widely heralded as a once-in-a-generation talent, returns with a first novel that harnesses the sweeping vision and deep heart that made her debut so arresting to a love story set in a devastatingly imagined near future:

Unrelenting drought has transfigured Southern California into a surreal, phantasmagoric landscape. With the Central Valley barren, underground aquifer drained, and Sierra snowpack entirely depleted, most "Mojavs," prevented by both armed vigilantes and an indifferent bureaucracy from freely crossing borders to lusher regions, have allowed themselves to be evacuated to internment camps. In Los Angeles' Laurel Canyon, two young Mojavs - Luz, once a poster child for the Bureau of Conservation and its enemies, and Ray, a veteran of the "forever war" turned surfer - squat in a starlet's abandoned mansion. Holdouts, they subsist on rationed cola and whatever they can loot, scavenge, and improvise.

The couple's fragile love somehow blooms in this arid place, and for the moment, it seems enough. But when they cross paths with a mysterious child, the thirst for a better future begins. They head east, a route strewn with danger: sinkholes and patrolling authorities, bandits and the brutal, omnipresent sun. Ghosting after them are rumors of a visionary dowser - a diviner for water - and his followers, who whispers say have formed a colony at the edge of 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.

BOOK ONE
There it is. Take it.
William Mulholland

Punting the prairie dog into the library was a mistake. Luz Dunn knew that now, but it had been a long time since she'd seen a little live thing, and the beast had startled her. She'd woke near noon having dreamed a grand plan and intending to enact it: she would try on every dress in the house. They hung like plumage in the master closet, in every luscious color, each one unspeakably expensive—imagine the ones the starlet had taken with her! In the dream Luz had worn every dress all at once, her breasts bestudded with rhinestones and drenched in silver dust, her ass embroidered with coppery alleyways of sequins, pleated plumes of satin fanning from her hips, pale confectioners' tulle floating like spun sugar at her feet. Of course, things went one-at-a-time in the lifeless waking world.

It was important to have a project, Ray said, no matter how frivolous. The Santa Anas winged through the canyon now, bearing ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

With crackling prose that she delivered so brilliantly in her debut collection of short stories, Battleborn, Watkins yanks the ground out from under our feet, exposing us to every vulnerability that this story so resolutely delivers. When all else is gone, what do we thirst for most?   (Reviewed by Poornima Apte).

Full Review (755 words).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Packed with persuasive detail, luminous writing, and a grasp of the history (popular, political, natural and imagined) needed to tell a story that is original yet familiar, strange yet all too believable.

Booklist
Starred Review. Spectacular...In Margaret Atwood mode, Watkins spikes this fast-moving, high-tension, sexyecocrisis saga with caustic parodies and resounding allusions that cohere into a knowing and elegiac tale of scrappy adaptation and epic loss.

Library Journal
Starred Review. This debut novel (after Watkins's multiaward-winning story collection, Battleborn) follows a recent spate of similarly disturbing ecodystopias. Yet, with its damaged and complicated heroine and multiple voices, shifting perspectives, and unconventional narrative devices, it is a wholly original work.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. A tour-de-force first novel blisters with drought, myth, and originality….On each page [Watkins] spikes her novel with a ticking, musical intelligence… Praised for writing landscape, Watkins' grasp of the body is just as rousing. Into the vast desert she sets loose snakes and gurus, the Messianic pulse of end times.

Author Blurb Louise Erdrich
Exhilarating, upsetting, delirious, bold, Gold Fame Citrus is a head rush of a novel and establishes Claire Vaye Watkins as an important new voice in American literature.

Author Blurb Karen Russell
An extraordinary novel: relentlessly brilliant, utterly fearless, and often savagely funny. Watkins explores the maze of human thirst in all its forms. Here's a love story that tracks the mutating hopes of two lost souls, in prose that is fever-bright and ferociously assured, against the backdrop of the Great American Desert. More confirmation that Watkins is one of the brightest stars in our firmament.

Author Blurb Smith Henderson
Gold Fame Citrus is a sun-hammered fever dream, not unlike the shimmering, sweltering Southwest it depicts. Your heart will be wrung out by the journey of Luz, Raymond, and Ig. Your imagination will feast on the assured depiction of a near-future that is burnt to a crisp. And you'll hope it's all a mirage as Watkins renders a hot and very plausible future with the frightening force of a burning inevitability.

Author Blurb Thomas McGuane
A gripping, audacious novel, plausibly imagined in all its remarkable details. With Claire Vaye Watkins there was never promise: it was achievement from the start, and this book repays her admirers in spades.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Nuclear Waste in Yucca Mountain

Yucca MountainIn Gold Fame Citrus, the Yucca mountain, which is located in the deserts of Nevada, an hour northwest of Las Vegas, has officially become a nuclear waste depository: "The white bullet trains come in and out thrice daily, soundless, only a slight pressing and unpressing of the air. One day the repository will be filled and it will be sealed and it will stay that way for one hundred thousand years, says the binder. One day all the toxic pellets we fear will be stuffed safely inside the mountain."

In reality, while political maneuvering to make Yucca Mountain a long-term solution to store America's radioactive wastes has been going on for decades, the plans have not yet been realized.

As a quick background, the United States has been ...

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