Tag: california

California by Edan Lepucki

Posted October 11, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Speculative Fiction / 0 Comments

California by Edan LepuckiTitle: California (Goodreads)
Author: Edan Lepucki
Narrator: Emma Galvin
Published: Hachette, 2014
Pages: 320
Genres: Speculative Fiction
My Copy: Audiobook

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Cal and Frida is living in the middle of the 21st century, however it wasn’t the future we expected. Cities have crumbled, the internet has died and technology is worthless. Leaving city life behind, they now have to live in the wilderness, struggling to survive. Isolation and hardship are all new experiences; they live in fear of an uncertain future. A future that now consists of giving birth and raising a child in this post-apocalyptic world.

The post-apocalyptic back drop has been hugely popular lately and it isn’t just young adult fiction. Many literary fiction authors have tried their hand at the genre, giving them a unique world to explore real life issues. I’m thinking of great books like The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart, The Passage by Justin Cronin and the Maddaddam series by Margaret Atwood. Edan Lepucki’s California sets out to join the ranks of the great with this overly ambitious first novel.

I will be honest, the only reason I picked up California was because of the promotion that appeared on The Colbert Report a while ago. The novel had enough to peak my interest but I had great difficulty getting a copy where I lived. Ironically I finally settled on getting the book through Audible to listen to. The premise of the novel was great; the idea of a world returning to the dark ages offered some interesting ideas. While we are never sure, the novel does allude to global warming as the underlining cause of this post-apocalyptic world.

I expected this novel to be the slow burn that The Road provided, building the characters and struggle while exploring the intended themes. However, I think this book burned a little too slowly, the flame went out halfway through and it turned into more of a chore to get through. Sure, the notions of communities, eco-terrorism and climate change were explored but for me it felt like I was being beaten over my head every chance they got. The book wanted to show off how smart and witty it was but, like many things that try to do this, the delivery never matched the intent.

California moved so slowly that as a reader, I was trapped in the wilderness of nothingness and I didn’t think I could escape. This was a real pity, everything seemed to start off so well; there was a plot arc and themes all set up and ready for execution. Somewhere on the way I feel like the author got a little lost and the readers were just following to her struggle to get back on track. I might come down hard on this novel; it isn’t too bad, there is a lot of potential and could have been a great book. For me it just didn’t work and wasn’t paced properly, I’m sure some people enjoyed it


The Informers by Bret Easton Ellis

Posted August 22, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Fiction / 0 Comments

The Informers by Bret Easton EllisTitle: The Informers (Goodreads)
Author: Bret Easton Ellis
Published: Knopf Doubleday, 1994
Pages: 272
Genres: Literary Fiction
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

I don’t know why I keep coming back to Bret Easton Ellis; I never seem to overly enjoy his vacuous characters but something keeps drawing me back. The Informers is my forth Ellis book and this one is a collection of short stories that ultimately link together to make an overall story. Think Crash (the movie) but with shallow characters. The Informers follow the lives of several interconnected characters, they all eat at the same places, sleep with the same people and pretty much act like each other.

Each chapter is told from a different character in a first person perspective and in the end each point of view come together to make a very loosely connected story. The characters remind me a lot of Less than Zero but most of the characters in The Informers are supposed to be adults. There are a lot of conversations in this book between different characters and this is the part of the book that Bret Easton Ellis does best. He seems to be able to have a lot of conversations and still drive the plot without adding to much more and the interactions between the people seem to feel very natural.

The book feels shallow and cynical; it tries to spotlight a moral decline of Californian life. Most of Bret Easton Ellis novels feel the same, he is often called a moral satirist but I often feel like he is just a nihilist. But I still feel the need to read his books even if I don’t enjoy them (except for Imperial Bedrooms). Ellis has an interesting style and if I rate his books from worst to best, it looks like he is improving as a writer with age. This might be the fact that his books are more and more metafictional and that seems to help add depth into a book a shallow annoying characters.