"The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. Mourning a past they can't reclaim, they seek solace in each other. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant. Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust"-- - (Baker & Taylor)
After escaping the crumbling ruins of Los Angeles for a shack in the wilderness, Cal and Frida realize they are pregnant and seek refuge in the nearest settlement—a guarded, dark and paranoid community that poses a whole new set of dangers. 25,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)
After escaping the crumbling ruins of Los Angeles for a shack in the wilderness, Cal and Frida realize they are pregnant and seek refuge in the nearest settlement--a guarded, dark, and paranoid community that poses a whole new set of dangers. - (Baker & Taylor)
The catalysts for the current wave of postapocalyptic novels are many, from financial collapse to climate change, yet the bludgeoned, class-stratified, post-tech worlds writers envision are eerily similar. Still, from this blasted landscape, imaginative stories of survival by writers such as Margaret Atwood and James Howard Kunstler flower. First-time novelist Lepucki steps gamely into this arena to tell the tale of Frida and Cal, an ardent couple who have fled decimated Los Angeles to try to live off the land. Their only human contact is with a mysterious itinerant trader until they eventually discover a family homesteading nearby and learn of a strange, labyrinthine border of towering spikes. What is this structure protecting? The perils are many, everyone is vulnerable, and there is no reliable information beyond that of the senses, emotions, and intellect. Lepucki's characters, therefore, must weigh every word, expression, and gesture. This results in too much disquisition through conversations, and the plot falters, but the settings are haunting and Lepucki's inquiry into the psychology of trust, both intimate and communal, is keen and compelling. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Library Journal Reviews
Two years ago, Frida and Cal made their way out of Los Angeles to live in seclusion, off the land, away from the violence of terrorists such as the Group, which tore the world apart, and the Communities, which cater to only the wealthiest clientele. They have adapted to their new lives, but when Frida becomes pregnant they worry for the safety of their unborn child. Not far from their cabin is a settlement called the Land, which is purported to be unwelcoming to visitors. Despite their reservations, Frida and Cal make their way there, hoping to find assistance if not acceptance. What they discover is both surprising and unsettling. VERDICT While this debut novel has some potential as a disturbing postapocalyptic thriller, it stumbles in its execution. The characters don't evoke a lot of sympathy and the ambiguous ending leaves readers hanging. [A July LibraryReads pick; Stephen Colbert promoted the book as a response to the Amazon-Hachette dispute (ow.ly/y71R0).—Ed.]—Karin Thogersen, Huntley Area P.L., IL
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