The Golden State
In Lydia Kiesling’s razor-sharp debut novel, The Golden State, 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.But clarity proves elusive. Over the next ten days Daphne is anxious, she behaves a little erratically, she drinks too much. She wanders the town looking for anyone and anything to punctuate the long hours alone with the baby. Among others, she meets Cindy, a neighbor who is active in a secessionist movement, and befriends the elderly Alice, who has traveled to Altavista as she approaches the end of her life. When her relationships with these women culminate in a dangerous standoff, Daphne must reconcile her inner narrative with the reality of a deeply divided world.Keenly observed, bristling with humor, and set against the beauty of a little-known part of California, The Golden State is about class and cultural breakdowns, and desperate attempts to bridge old and new worlds. But more than anything, it is about motherhood: its voracious worry, frequent tedium, and enthralling, wondrous love.

The Golden State Details

TitleThe Golden State
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 4th, 2018
PublisherMCD
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction

The Golden State Review

  • Tyler Goodson
    January 1, 1970
    The Golden State is a novel of sparse landscape and deep emotion. When Daphne and her baby drive to the high desert of Northern California, they are alone in a way that feels enervating and dangerous. Daphne is written with such a strong sense of feeling, it inevitably carries over to the reader. You are filled with love for Honey, Engin, the old crone Alice, and hate for the unfairness of the situation they have found themselves in. I was so sad for this novel to end.
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  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    January 1, 1970
    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/“This is my house, ” I say aloud, and everything in the house contradicts me, down to its dubious foundation.It is to this house in the desert of Altavista with her baby girl Honey that Daphne flees, leaving behind her work at the University of San Francisco, a student who has never quite finished her PhD despite encouragement from those around her because “working at the institute has amply illustrated the precarious sh*tshow that is a life of via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/“This is my house, ” I say aloud, and everything in the house contradicts me, down to its dubious foundation.It is to this house in the desert of Altavista with her baby girl Honey that Daphne flees, leaving behind her work at the University of San Francisco, a student who has never quite finished her PhD despite encouragement from those around her because “working at the institute has amply illustrated the precarious sh*tshow that is a life of the mind”. She is a single mother for all intents and purposes as her Turkish husband, Engin is trapped by a ‘processing error’ and cannot return to the United States of America. The novel follows Daphne and Honey through the desolation their lives have become in Engin’s absence. Single despite the occasional Skype with Honey’s daddy, a tiresome thing, Skype when her life is already consumed by meeting her child’s needs and demands. A desert seems a fitting place, because this is a sort of desert period for Daphne. The house is her grandparent’s mobile home, her mother is dead and it’s hers now. Her family had lived there for a long time, settled and rooted but this life doesn’t fit her.You can’t expect a lot of dialogue between a baby and her mother and yet Kiesling manages to make Honey a solid person, whether she is cranky and whiney or like on Day 5 kissing her mommy’s face awake. That’s how we bond though, without words and there is a beautiful intimacy in it. It gets boring at times, and you feel as bogged down as she does but at least the baby is always real, present unlike so many stories where children are unnaturally silent the entire novel. I dont’ think such children exist in reality. Right now, ‘conversations are work’ and Daphne seems to both welcome and hate this self-imposed exile. She thinks Ellery and Maryam, having met their doom and compares the young women to her own very much alive child. But it’s a thought she doesn’t like to feed on, and in some strange way may shoulder a bit of blame for, or maybe not, can you bear the blame of fate’s whims? She should be opening emails, dealing with whatever mess she has jumped ship from back at the university, but she cannot find the wherewithal do it. She is in a sort of strange in-between time so many mother’s are familiar with after the birth of a child. Daphne plus one.She meets the locals, and explains she works for an institute that studies Islamic studies which naturally begs the question, “Like Isis?” Daphne studies the language, and how countries share an islamic past. Bring up Muslim and hackles raise with a cry of Isis, which is often a shamefully believeable reaction in our country. She absolutely defends her husband and all the Muslims who don’t go around ‘blowing people up’ and plotting terrorism, yet this also isn’t the point of the novel. Despite this, she and Cindy become friends of sorts, even though she doesn’t agree with her ‘ideology.’ The biggest group of people are ‘State of Jeffersoners’, not the sort of group her husband Engin (if he ever returns to her) will be able to tolerate. The possibility of a life where her family’s people have been since the 1800’s just may not be a viable option for her. She gets caught up, somewhat, in the secessionists who don’t want to deal with ‘urban problems’. Generations of people who feel the government is robbing them of the resources they’ve always had to themselves. She meets an old ‘auntie-type’ Alice, who has been to Turkey and serves as a sort of stand in grandma, support she surely lacks with Engin scattered to the wind and the rest of her family dead. A woman who has had much loss and sadness of her own, that far surpasses anything Daphne is struggling with. They take up together on a trip and everything goes sour, this is the climactic moment in an otherwise quiet story.The story touched on xenophobia here and there, but not as much as you would expect. I was disappointed that Engin was as absent for me as he seems to be for Honey and Daphne. I wondered if some bone thrown my way about their love would have made me care more. Engin aside, I enjoyed the tender moments as much as the exasperating ones between Daphne and Honey. The writing is beautiful but the story did drag often and I usually enjoy being a visitor in a character’s mind. Sometimes I felt as exhausted as Daphne. Good but nothing much happens until the very end.Publication Date: September 4, 2018Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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  • Mary Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    While I enjoyed the plot and character development in "The Golden State" by Lydia Kiesling, the first few chapters were tough reading as I adapted to the author's style (lack of punctuation (particularly commas), run on sentences, stream of conscious narrative). The intensely told story of Daphne, a young mother who's husband has been sent back to Turkey due to an "input error" on his green card, of sorts. She works for a university foundation, assisting students who wish to study in Asia (among While I enjoyed the plot and character development in "The Golden State" by Lydia Kiesling, the first few chapters were tough reading as I adapted to the author's style (lack of punctuation (particularly commas), run on sentences, stream of conscious narrative). The intensely told story of Daphne, a young mother who's husband has been sent back to Turkey due to an "input error" on his green card, of sorts. She works for a university foundation, assisting students who wish to study in Asia (among other administrative tasks) and simply walks out of her job one day to return to the home she inherited from her grandparents and mother. The entire novel covers slightly more than a week, while Daphne and her daughter Honey learn of the rural area and interact with new and old acquaintances. There is a side plot of a secessionist movement seeking to split up the state of California and one involving an elderly woman navigating her past, all while Daphne and Honey contemplate next steps. The ending is a little unsatisfying, but this is a thought provoking read which would work well for literary-minded book discussion groups.
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  • Chris Roberts
    January 1, 1970
    "Desolation Soundtrack" = Bad Jack Kerouac stream of consciousness = Cloaked night savagely come, next day exhaling century - every false step a blooding = One-star.Advice to said author: To write a novel, you must destroy your ego, mythical hero in your new identity.Chris Roberts, God of the Face Shifting Tribes
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  • Susie | Novel Visits
    January 1, 1970
    {My Thoughts}What Worked For MeKiesling Nailed New Motherhood – The Golden State is Daphne’s story and one of the many things you should know about Daphne is that she’s the mother of a 16-month old. She adores her daughter, Honey, but she’s also been going it completely alone for the last 8 months. Kiesling got all that right, weaving Daphne’s story together beautifully, but what stood out to me was how right she got motherhood. That back-and-forth between overwhelming delight in her child and t {My Thoughts}What Worked For MeKiesling Nailed New Motherhood – The Golden State is Daphne’s story and one of the many things you should know about Daphne is that she’s the mother of a 16-month old. She adores her daughter, Honey, but she’s also been going it completely alone for the last 8 months. Kiesling got all that right, weaving Daphne’s story together beautifully, but what stood out to me was how right she got motherhood. That back-and-forth between overwhelming delight in her child and the mind-numbing boredom and monotony of parenting a toddler was SO real. Daphne marked her days with times and even after doing what seemed like a huge amount, little time had passed. She couldn’t wait for Honey to go down for a nap, yet an hour later she found herself tempted to wake her child. Haven’t we all been there? I loved that Kiesling included so many first-time-mom woes like not being able to properly attach a rear-facing car seat, and worrying about just how many cheese sticks are too many.Tangled Communications – Daphne is an extremely smart woman who finds herself alone after her Turkish husband, Elgin, has his Green Card revoked. The tangle of paperwork seems endless and during that he’s back in Turkey and she’s in the U.S. trying to handle everything AND keep him involved in Honey’s life and alive in her own heart. They communicate daily via Skype, which Daphne keenly observes is both a blessing and a curse.“Maybe the thing really is that now we have these tools there’s the expectation that you will always be in touch. Overseas we called my grandparents every two weeks and we wrote letters and that was it and it was just easier than doing this Skype dance with all its awful reminders that the person you want to be here is not here. But Honey has to see her father’s face as much as she can while he’s not there, I think, and start crying, and I’m proud of myself because I think it’s been about two days since the last time I cried”Raw Emotion – As you can see from the end of the above quote, Daphne is a woman at an emotional crossroads in her life. She knows something has to change, but no path she can see is clear and that anguish comes through beautifully in her story. Daphne’s a mess, as she should be. Life decisions are hard, especially when you feel alone. In fleeing to the comfort of the high-desert mobile home her grandparents once owned, Daphne is hoping somehow, beyond all logic, she’ll finally be able to make a decision. She’s long been burdened with the weight of not only her own life, but Honey’s and Elgin’s resting squarely on her shoulders. I felt Kiesling portrayed Daphne’s sorrow and pain in ways that were always real and sometimes unexpected.What Didn’tA Different Sort of Writing Style – Lydia Kiesling’s style of writing took some getting used to. She tends to write very, very long sentences and can be sparse on the use of commas. More than once I needed to go back and reread to make sure I’d captured the full meaning from such a sentence. I was particularly distracted by commas not being used to separate items in a series, which happened too often. On the positive punctuation side, she did use quotation marks! At times, I also found her writing a little on the pretentious side, using pharasing that would have benefited from more simplicity.{The Final Assessment}The Golden State was the first book I read from my Fall Preview 2018, so it had some big expectations to live up to. I was hoping for a fresh take on motherhood amidst a distinct California setting and that’s exactly what I got. Kiesling’s powerful story of isolation, loneliness, and hope far outweighed its few flaws. I consider The Golden State a fabulous kickoff to my fall reading and will look forward to more from this debut author. Note: I received a copy of this book from MCD Books (via NetGalley) in exchange for my honest review.Original Source: https://novelvisits.com/the-golden-st...
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  • Beth Roberts
    January 1, 1970
    This book is really attempting a lot of different things and I'm having trouble piecing it together from what it wanted to be into what it actually came off to me as.Here is what I know:1. We have Daphne and her baby, Honey. Daphne is married to Engin, who is a Turk and through bureaucratic loopholes has been deported back to Turkey. He's been gone 8 months.2. Daphne works for some sort of Islamic Affairs institute at a university in San Francisco, CA. She was in charge of securing funding and m This book is really attempting a lot of different things and I'm having trouble piecing it together from what it wanted to be into what it actually came off to me as.Here is what I know:1. We have Daphne and her baby, Honey. Daphne is married to Engin, who is a Turk and through bureaucratic loopholes has been deported back to Turkey. He's been gone 8 months.2. Daphne works for some sort of Islamic Affairs institute at a university in San Francisco, CA. She was in charge of securing funding and making arrangements for two students to go to Turkey for a summer project. The two girls were in an accident while abroad and one was killed. Daphne has sort of freaked out about how the university and her institute is handling the crisis. That, combined with the increasing tension and uncertainty of her husband's situation, has caused her to flee to her family's semi-abandoned trailer in far northern California.3. There is a group in this area that has become militant about wanting to secede from the Union.4. Daphne befriends an ancient woman named Alice, who is 92 and is traveling alone for tragic reasons of her own. The facts surrounding Alice are pretty non-existent and actually very weird.So, those are the facts. What this book really reads like is a week-long diary of a frazzled mother. In that regard, it's weirdly fascinating. For 90% of the book, absolutely nothing happens except intensive views of Daphne caring for her baby. Having had two babies of my own, that's where this book excels. Honey is the best character in the book and an extremely accurate depiction of the minutia of a 16-month old child. Still, while she's adorable, the endless details of this baby's every movement is boring, unless you're the one actually caring for the baby. Like I said, weirdly fascinating.Still, I kept waiting for something to really happen, and it finally did, 90% in. And it was. . .weird.Having lived my entire life in Texas, I've also lived with secessionists and their brand of politics as well. Nut jobs are nut jobs, no matter what kind of nut they are.At first the writing style with all the jangled run-on sentences was kind of charming: it conveyed the harried, hurried thought processes of a young mother perfectly. Later on in the book, however, it became the norm for other people and events as well. And that's. . .not good.I think maybe the intent was to convey some sort of global well-meaning with the Islamic community, but the federal policies and university dogma just bogged any of that down. The fact that the husband is kind of a not-present asshole doesn't help. And then he just drops off. Which I guess serves as a statement not to marry some guy from overseas?? I don't know - that whole thing was murky and. . .weird.I wish I had better things to say. This was a book with a lot of dense writing about. . .nothing. Just people. With diapers thrown in.If you've ever lived close-up with a baby, this could be weirdly interesting. But I'm afraid probably not.
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  • Michael Wear
    January 1, 1970
    Busy work week, so can't leave the review I want, but this book is so very good. Will read again soon, and will (and have) recommend to everyone I meet with effusive praise. Also, pro-tip, the narrator on Audible, Amanda Dolan, is phenomenal.
  • Mainlinebooker
    January 1, 1970
    Imagine stepping inside one's consciousness, trapped with all the confusing thoughts that are a part of the yin and yang parts of our lives. Now imagine the character feeling trapped as well. Deliverance comes in the form of an emotional "tug at your roots" feeling toward the character.However, when it continues for so long despite the beautiful prose and despite the agony and ecstasy you feel, it can get a bit tiring. Those were my thoughts reading the beautifully written novel about Daphne, a Imagine stepping inside one's consciousness, trapped with all the confusing thoughts that are a part of the yin and yang parts of our lives. Now imagine the character feeling trapped as well. Deliverance comes in the form of an emotional "tug at your roots" feeling toward the character.However, when it continues for so long despite the beautiful prose and despite the agony and ecstasy you feel, it can get a bit tiring. Those were my thoughts reading the beautifully written novel about Daphne, a young professional who feels the need to escape from her university job with her 16month old daughter, Honey.Anyone who has been a mother can relate to the ambivalence she feels tending to her while her Turkish husband is stuck abroad waiting for his green card which has been held up to an administrative snafu. After settling into a mobile home bequeathed to her in northern California, she meets an array of colorful characters while sorting out her life plans. For plot oriented fans, you may be disappointed but for lovers of beautiful run on dialogue you will be extremely pleased.
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  • Sara Batkie
    January 1, 1970
    I already loved Kiesling's writing from her work over at The Millions, but I was fairly blown away by her debut novel. It's a remarkably well-rendered look into the deteriorating psyche of a high-strung mother who's intentionally and methodically removing herself from her life. Spending an entire book trapped in the head of a character who also feels trapped is a tricky balancing act and Kiesling does it with remarkable confidence. She makes her narrator Daphne prickly and scattered but always u I already loved Kiesling's writing from her work over at The Millions, but I was fairly blown away by her debut novel. It's a remarkably well-rendered look into the deteriorating psyche of a high-strung mother who's intentionally and methodically removing herself from her life. Spending an entire book trapped in the head of a character who also feels trapped is a tricky balancing act and Kiesling does it with remarkable confidence. She makes her narrator Daphne prickly and scattered but always understandable. I enjoyed spending time with her, even when she was making bad decisions. The writing also has a headlong, barreling style that gives the book a lot of forward momentum, even when there isn't a lot that's actually unfolding plot-wise. A very strong first book.
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  • Alexandra Sweet
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first book where I've taken photos of the pages because Lydia Kiesling's writing so perfectly captures the experience of parenting (so loving, so tedious, so constant) that I have returned to the images on my phone to laugh or sigh or cry.
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  • Anneke
    January 1, 1970
    Book Review: The Golden StateAuthor: Lydia KieslingPublisher: MCD/Straus, Farrar and GirouxPublication Date: September 4, 2018Review Date: August 23, 2018I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Here’s amazon description of the book. I find it easier to use their descriptions than try to write it myself. “In Lydia Kiesling’s razor-sharp debut novel, The Golden State, we accompany Daphne, a young mother on the edge of a breakdown, as she flees her sensible but straine Book Review: The Golden StateAuthor: Lydia KieslingPublisher: MCD/Straus, Farrar and GirouxPublication Date: September 4, 2018Review Date: August 23, 2018I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Here’s amazon description of the book. I find it easier to use their descriptions than try to write it myself. “In Lydia Kiesling’s razor-sharp debut novel, The Golden State, 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.But clarity proves elusive. Over the next ten days Daphne is anxious, she behaves a little erratically, she drinks too much. She wanders the town looking for anyone and anything to punctuate the long hours alone with the baby. Among others, she meets Cindy, a neighbor who is active in a secessionist movement, and befriends the elderly Alice, who has traveled to Altavista as she approaches the end of her life. When her relationships with these women culminate in a dangerous standoff, Daphne must reconcile her inner narrative with the reality of a deeply divided world.”This was a good book. I don’t think great. I give it 4 Stars. It’s very well written. The plot works perfectly. There is a lot of beautiful language and imagery. Part of what I didn’t care for is that the author wrote long, run-on sentences without punctuation where normally there would be commas. I realized it was part of her writing style. Also, much of the book was description of the protagonist’s inner state and thoughts. I didn’t find that interesting. But that’s just me. Although it’s just 300+ pages, it seemed to drag on and on. So, I’d say the book is worth reading if you don’t have anything more pressing. But if you’re like me, I have many, many books in my queue waiting to be read that I think may be better reads. If you have lots of time, and not many books pressing to be read, then go ahead and read this book. PS: It’s hard for me not to give an FSG book a 5 Star Review, but the NetGalley agreement says “in exchange for an HONEST review” so there it is. This review will be posted on NetGalley, Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram and Amazon and Barnes and Noble after the publication date as these two don’t accept reviews until publication.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.The setting--over 10 days when, Daphne, a young, mostly functional mother, flees her university job/life in San Francisco with her toddler, Honey, for the high desert of Altavista, California. Her Turkish husband, Engin, is back in Turkey because of a "processing error." Daphne heads to the mobile home she inherited from her mother who inherited it from her mother. She sets up her solitary existence [punctuated with overseas ca I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.The setting--over 10 days when, Daphne, a young, mostly functional mother, flees her university job/life in San Francisco with her toddler, Honey, for the high desert of Altavista, California. Her Turkish husband, Engin, is back in Turkey because of a "processing error." Daphne heads to the mobile home she inherited from her mother who inherited it from her mother. She sets up her solitary existence [punctuated with overseas calls/Skype to her husband--when she can get wifi off her neighbor, Cindy--part of a secessionist movement, the State of Jefferson]. She befriends 92-year old Alice, who's on a road trip! And she smokes and drinks too much. And feeds Honey string cheese--quite often.3.5 but rounding up because of the often beautiful writing/ descriptions and the originality of story. I admired, rather than liked this book. Some of the descriptions of life with Honey were just spot on. She "called from her crib like a marooned sailor." Her diaper had "enormous squishy heft." And another time, "...the diaper has been breached." “Her sounds are no longer supported by the scaffolding of crying and are just awful rhythmic shouts."Her body: "...pouch that Honey has vacated has achieved greater prominence."Her Buick was like a "padded coffin."Her work--"...I can just listen to all the people who did choose and presumbly weave them into some tattered tapestry of erudition." [phew]Altavista, for which she feels no great love, she feels has "Everything [is] on the edge of town; the town is comprised of edges..."And so on.But, I didnt always like the voice/narration. And I didnt much care for Daphne. This is a debut novel. I look foward to seeing what Kiesling does next.
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  • Up All Night With Books
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 StarsReview by Amy Late Night ReviewerUp All Night w/ Books BlogI was so excited to read The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling. I have been a Golden State girl my whole life and enjoy reading about regions that I am familiar with.The premise of the story was drawing, as I’m sure everyone at some time or another has envisioned running away from daily stresses and hiding out for a while. That is exactly what Daphne does when she leaves bustling San Francisco to lay low in Altavista, California in 3.5 StarsReview by Amy Late Night ReviewerUp All Night w/ Books BlogI was so excited to read The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling. I have been a Golden State girl my whole life and enjoy reading about regions that I am familiar with.The premise of the story was drawing, as I’m sure everyone at some time or another has envisioned running away from daily stresses and hiding out for a while. That is exactly what Daphne does when she leaves bustling San Francisco to lay low in Altavista, California in her grandparent’s mobile home. She runs into some who remember her family, and others who are just passing through, building relationships along the way and struggling to figure out her next step.I enjoyed the broad concept of this story, and there were parts of the book I thoroughly appreciated. The writing style was a bit wandering at times and tended to move a bit slow for my preference. Kiesling’s descriptions were in depth and well expressed. I felt as though I was with her on the journey. There was a lack of connection with Daphne for me, even though I felt I could totally relate to her circumstances, for some reason I cannot place I just did not build a deep affinity for her personality or character.Overall a well written literary fiction read that took a deep look at small town California and the pressures of taking on a single mom role in this day and age.**ARC provided for honest review**
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  • Cecilia Rabess
    January 1, 1970
    This book was really great and surprising! I found the writing style very engaging and propulsive. The sort of laissez faire attitude toward punctuation *really worked* for me. It gave the novel a very sort of fresh vibration that I haven't encountered much, but would very much like to encounter again. (YMMV.) Other things that really worked about the book:- The baby! So much personality for someone who cannot speak- We were stuck in Daphne's head for ten days straight, but it never got boring ( This book was really great and surprising! I found the writing style very engaging and propulsive. The sort of laissez faire attitude toward punctuation *really worked* for me. It gave the novel a very sort of fresh vibration that I haven't encountered much, but would very much like to encounter again. (YMMV.) Other things that really worked about the book:- The baby! So much personality for someone who cannot speak- We were stuck in Daphne's head for ten days straight, but it never got boring (even though Daphne did do boring things, occasionally) a testament to the writer's skill, I think- The depiction of anxiety was masterful (I loved all the parts with the string cheese) - As above, I would say the depiction of motherhood was also very well done; people tend to be awful at writing about motherhood (always so vague or defensive) but this was not that, descriptive and evocative but without all the baggage you pick up from think pieces on the internet about modern motherhood- There were lots of interesting politics, but they were all personal so it was thematic without coming off as trying to have a capital m MessageRead this if you like smart, funny, protagonists who don't quite have their acts together. And babies.
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  • Emily Molina
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this novel from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.The story takes place over 9 days, and is about a young woman who is not satisfied with her current life, so she takes her 2 year old daughter to her grandparents mobile home in Altavista, CA. She meets a few interesting people during her hiatus. The writing style made the book hard to read at times due to the lack of punctuation, which led to a stream of consciousness feel. While I understand the purpose of the writ I received an ARC of this novel from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.The story takes place over 9 days, and is about a young woman who is not satisfied with her current life, so she takes her 2 year old daughter to her grandparents mobile home in Altavista, CA. She meets a few interesting people during her hiatus. The writing style made the book hard to read at times due to the lack of punctuation, which led to a stream of consciousness feel. While I understand the purpose of the writing style--getting the reader into the mind of Daphne, feeling her anxiety--I had to consciously slow myself down frequently to follow what was going on. I found the ending to be a bit unsatisying and with the exception of the main character, characters were not as well developed as I normally prefer in books.
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  • Kathleen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    I like punctuation. I get what Kiesling is trying to do and appreciate the style is meant to reflect Daphne's internal thought process. However, she lost me about a third of the way through because it was just too unbound. The dialogue between Daphne and Honey (well, the one way dialogue) is well done but it wasn't enough to carry the book for me. The other characters in the desert didn't feel new. That Daphne's husband Engin is Turkish and unable to get back to the US, as well as Daphne's work I like punctuation. I get what Kiesling is trying to do and appreciate the style is meant to reflect Daphne's internal thought process. However, she lost me about a third of the way through because it was just too unbound. The dialogue between Daphne and Honey (well, the one way dialogue) is well done but it wasn't enough to carry the book for me. The other characters in the desert didn't feel new. That Daphne's husband Engin is Turkish and unable to get back to the US, as well as Daphne's work for an institute of Islamic studies adds a political aspect to this but it does not become polemic. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
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  • Rebecca H.
    January 1, 1970
    There’s so much I loved about Lydia Kiesling’s The Golden State. What stands out to me most is its portrayal of motherhood, but I also loved the picture of the northern Californian landscape and culture we get in the book, the portrayal of university life in the book’s beginning, and the poignancy and political commentary in the situation with the protagonist and her husband. I also really liked the novel’s voice — it was sharp, funny, smart, and communicated a world of feeling in an understated There’s so much I loved about Lydia Kiesling’s The Golden State. What stands out to me most is its portrayal of motherhood, but I also loved the picture of the northern Californian landscape and culture we get in the book, the portrayal of university life in the book’s beginning, and the poignancy and political commentary in the situation with the protagonist and her husband. I also really liked the novel’s voice — it was sharp, funny, smart, and communicated a world of feeling in an understated way.More at https://ofbooksandbikes.com/2018/09/1...
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  • Y.Z.
    January 1, 1970
    I wasn't sure how I'd feel when I started because I'm ambivalent towards the idea of having children but that's on me and once I was a couple dozen pages in I was completely drawn and emotionally invested in this story. The writing is warm and wonderful the characters are winning it stirred up so many feelings for me and I hope a lot of people read and enjoy it. This novel made me hug my loved ones tighter and that's one of the best things a book can make you do.
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  • Janilyn Kocher
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't see the point of this book. The main character leaves her good job in California to stay at her grandparents' former home where she idles away time, sending emails to her colleagues to make them think she's still working. Her husband is stuck in Turkey because of bureaucratic machinations. The baby is the only character that's likeable. I didn't care for the book. Thanks to NetGalley for the advance read.
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  • Nick Moran
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Not only an engrossing depiction of a very particular parent's mind, but an exploration of what it means to connect with others, raise them, be influenced and repulsed by them, and overwhelmed by them alike - as a bonus, there's also an absolutely ruthless and necessary skewering of modern university administrative work. I cannot wait to read what Lydia writes next.
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  • C Zhang
    January 1, 1970
    Incredible, totally enthralling. This book has ferocious intellect and a huge heart all at once. I'll be thinking about Daphne for a long, long time to come - her voice is so precisely rendered on the page.
  • Christina
    January 1, 1970
    So many feelings about this book and its complex subject matter. Will post a full review soon and it will be on my blog.
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