The much-anticipated first novel from a Story Prize-winning G++-----+-+----+5 Under 35G++-----+-++---+ fiction writer.
In 2012, Claire Vaye WatkinsG++-----++++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 G++-----+-+----+Mojavs,G++-----+-++---+ 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 AngelesG++-----++++ Laurel Canyon, two young MojavsG++-----++----+Luz, once a poster child for the Bureau of Conservation and its enemies, and Ray, a veteran of the G++-----+-+----+forever warG++-----+-++---+ turned surferG++-----++----+squat in a starletG++-----++++s abandoned mansion. Holdouts, they subsist on rationed cola and whatever they can loot, scavenge, and improvise.
The coupleG++-----++++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 dowserG++-----++----+a diviner for waterG++-----++----+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, WatkinsG++-----++++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.