The Golden State

The Golden State

In Lydia Kiesling’s razor-sharp debut novel, The Golden State, we accompany Daphne, a young mother on the edge of a breakdown, as she flees her sensible but strained life in San Francisco for the high desert of Altavista with her toddler, Honey. Bucking under the weight of being a single parent―her Turkish husband is unable to return to the United States because of a “processing error”―Daphne takes refuge in a mobile home left to her by her grandparents in hopes that the quiet will bring clarity.
But clarity proves elusive. Over the next ten days Daphne is anxious, she behaves a little erratically, she drinks too much. She wanders the town looking for anyone and anything to punctuate the long hours alone with the baby. Among others, she meets Cindy, a neighbor who is active in a secessionist movement, and befriends the elderly Alice, who has traveled to Altavista as she approaches the end of her life. When her relationships with these women culminate in a dangerous standoff, Daphne must reconcile her inner narrative with the reality of a deeply divided world.
Keenly observed, bristling with humor, and set against the beauty of a little-known part of California, The Golden State is about class and cultural breakdowns, and desperate attempts to bridge old and new worlds. But more than anything, it is about motherhood: its voracious worry, frequent tedium, and enthralling, wondrous love.

Title:The Golden State
Edition Language:English
ISBN:null
Format Type:

About Lydia Kiesling


    The Golden State Reviews

  • Elyse Walters

    Library overdrive Audiobook....read byAmanda DolanThis novel might have been good...Parts were engaging...But MOSTLY...I was exhausted- drained - and agitated.Let me try to explain...I ‘did’ admir...

  • Michael

    Set in the High Desert of California, The Golden State explores the emotional trials of early motherhood. The novel, written in the stream of consciousness mode, centers on the inner life of Daphne Ni...

  • Tyler Goodson

    The Golden State is a novel of sparse landscape and deep emotion. When Daphne and her baby drive to the high desert of Northern California, they are alone in a way that feels enervating and dangerous....

  • Bailey

    I was so undecided on this one most of the way through - it's more literary than what I usually read and enjoy, but at the same time it cuts through to some issues that are pressing (the banal horror ...

  • Diane Yannick

    I’ve been trying too many debut authors. I need to go back to my reliable favorites for a bit. The minutiae of parenting was described in detail. Way too much detail for me. Too many diapers, cheese...

  • Lolly K Dandeneau

    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/“This is my house, ” I say aloud, and everything in the house contradicts me, down to its dubious foundation.It is to this house in the desert of...

  • Jaclyn Crupi

    Kiesling did not come to play. If her aim was to evoke the tedium and bright love of parenting, the infernal frustration of dealing with racist and Islamophobic bureaucracy, the stomach-dropping feeli...

  • Autumn

    I saw a review of this book that said they didn’t like the stream of consciousness or lack of punctuation. This made me laugh because that’s exactly why people love ULYSSES. In many ways, this boo...

  • Laura

    Have I ever read a book like this? I mean, a book that really understands and dignifies the daily mixture of work and boredom that comes from spending your day with a toddler? I don't think I have. I ...

  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)

    DNF. This book is boring me, so gotta bail. Taking care of a toddler can be brief moments of joy interspersed among frustrating and tedious days. Reading almost 300 pages about it even more so. There ...