In Edan Lepucki’s California, the US government fell and all that is left are citizens fighting for what they need. Throughout the novel, we slowly learn how the US fell and unlike many post-apocalyptic books, there wasn’t just one event. There were several cataclysmic weather events around the country (probably climate change related) and earthquakes (good ole mother nature) that separated parts of the country, leaving each group on their own.

We meet Cal and Frida, a young couple who fled from LA to find their own life hidden in the forest. While Frida isn’t the most helpful on their small farm, Cal had gone to school at a strange, survivalist school, which had remarkably remained open when everything else was falling apart, and he was able to grow enough to sustain them. After several months, they find they have neighbors and strike up a friendship until the family commits suicide in their nearby home. Frida finds herself pregnant, somewhat of a miracle on their survivalist fare, and begins to worry about how a small family of 3 will survive all alone.

Cal finally tells Frida that he knows that theres a settlement nearby, within a few days walk, but it is not welcoming and he worried what would happen if they wandered into any settlement asking for help. Back in LA, only those with means lived in Communities and they didn’t let anyone in who couldn’t bankroll their way in. Faced with solitude and security or the unknown, Frida decides she needs to see what else is out there, and Cal agrees to go along.

This was an interesting book since not only did it deal with the post-apocalyptic world, it also death with what happens when someone is elected to lead with almost ultimate power. Those in power in the communities had a reason to keep people out, but what about the revolutionaries who fought against the communities. How can they survive? The book may have dragged out a little for me, but once Cal and Frida seek out the settlers and find a community with so many arbitrary rules and leaders, I was hooked. And the ending is just as dramatic and awful as most great novels like this.

Great read, highly recommended!

Read July 2015


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