'A Mad Max world painted with a finer brush' Elle
'An unforgettable journey into a hauntingly imagined near-future' Ruth Ozeki
'Set in a drought-ravaged Southern California trolled by scavengers, Gold Fame Citrus burns with a dizzying, scorching genius' Vanity Fair
Desert sands have laid waste to the south-west of America. Las Vegas is buried. California - and anyone still there - is stranded. Any way out is severely restricted. But Luz and Ray are not leaving. They survive on water rations, black market fruit and each other's need. Luz needs Ray, and Ray must be needed. But then they cross paths with a mysterious child, who needs them more than anything - and the thirst for a better life begins.
Claire Vaye Watkins's much-anticipated and lauded first novel delivers on her promise as one of America's best new writers.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Every once in a while we read a book that haunts our imagination day and night. American author Claire Vaye Watkins’ vision of a drought-ravaged California—and the feverish story of Luz and Ray, a couple newly in love who embark on a perilous journey to protect a neglected toddler—is searingly inventive. Gold Fame Citrus’ dazzling prose and feverish imagery will take your breath away.
It's the near future: water is running out and a vast sand dune that covers whole towns is growing. Los Angeles is empty except for the hippies, survivalists, and grifters who've evaded the government-mandated evacuation. Ex-model Luz Dunn is on her way out of L.A. when she meets Ray, a soldier fresh from the "forever war." After taking in a toddler, they head for a rumored desert settlement no simple task given the oppressive heat, gas and water shortages, and border guards. In her first novel, Watkins, a native Nevadan whose story collection Battleborn (which won multiple awards) was also set in the West, makes canny use of the region's history and myths, the way it's been shaped by dreamers (explorers, prospectors, Mormons, would-be starlets, Okies), and the limits of its water supply. Luz and Ray's story is the heart of the book, but Watkins adds an array of documents and voices depicting a West that provides nuclear-waste storage (and radioactivity) and "gold, fame, citrus" as well as racism and government-controlled resource management. She's alive to the powerful pull of romantics, cultists, and saviors; with Levi Zabriskie a master dowser, naturalist, conspiracy theorist, and leader of a desert community in particular she's added a memorable character to their roster. The book is 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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Gritty and Beautiful
An absolute joy to read!
Watkins conjures a haunting, dried-out world full of chancers, scavengers and grifters.
You’ll get swallowed by this book and love it.
It’s like Atwood and McCarthy lost in a magical desert.