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Extended Audio Sample California: A Novel Audiobook, by Edan Lepucki Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Edan Lepucki Narrator: Emma Galvin Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2014 ISBN: 9781478978268
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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 despite the isolation and hardships they face. Consumed by fear of the future and mourning for a past they can’t reclaim, they seek comfort and solace in one another. But the tentative existence they’ve built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she’s pregnant. 

Terrified of the unknown but 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 its own dangers. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.

A gripping and provocative debut novel by a stunning new talent, California imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind’s dark nature and irrepressible resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In her arresting debut novel, Edan Lepucki conjures a lush, intricate, deeply disturbing vision of the future, then masterfully exploits its dramatic possibilities.”

    Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad

  • “This thrilling and thoughtful debut novel by Edan Lepucki follows a young married couple navigating dangers both physical and emotional in a wild, mysterious post-collapse America. It’s a vivid, believable picture of a not-so-distant future and the timeless negotiation of young marriage, handled with suspense and psychological acuity.”

    Janet Fitch, New York Times bestselling author of White Oleander

  • “An expansive, full-bodied, and masterful narrative of humans caught in the most extreme situations, with all of our virtues and failings on full display: courage, cowardice, trust, betrayal, honor, and expedience. The final eighty pages of this book gripped me as much as any fictional denouement I’ve encountered in recent years…I firmly believe that Edan Lepucki is on the cusp of a long, strong career in American letters.”

    Ben Fountain, National Book Critics Circle Award–winning author of Billy Lynn’s Long Half-Time Walk

  • “Edan Lepucki’s first novel comes steeped in Southern California literary tradition…One thinks of Steve Erickson or Cynthia Kadohata, or Carolyn See, whose 1987 novel Golden Days ends with the nuclear holocaust.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Rewarding…[One of] thirty books you NEED to read in 2014.”

    Huffington Post

  • “Cal and Frida live in a post-apocalyptic world, but the days and nights of these former LA residents aren’t spent battling rampaging gangs or nests of zombies. Their life in the wilderness is rigorous and spare, but their devotion to one another gets them through…Edin Lepucki’s near future novel possesses an integrity and singularity that thoughtful readers will appreciate.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • “What does a marriage look like after the world ends? Edan Lepucki's terrific second novel California finds itself concerned with the human element when society crumbles…California questions the role of family and responsibility, and as a portrait of marriage, is perhaps as incisive as anything set in the real world. And with the conviction with which Lepucki renders the realities of her novel, it might behoove us to think of our world as the pre-apocalypse.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Noteworthy…Lepucki’s debut is an inventive take on the post-apocalyptic novel, about a couple who moves from an isolated existence in the wilderness to a guarded community that, they soon realize, harbors terrifying secrets and unforseen dangers.”

    Time Out Chicago

  • “In her suspenseful debut, Lepucki envisions a postapocalyptic America and the people left behind. After fleeing a decaying, ransacked Los Angeles to begin anew in the wilderness, married couple Cal and Frida are faced with dwindling supplies and an uncertain future…Lepucki focuses on Cal and Frida’s evolving relationship and their divergent approaches to their predicament. As seen in chapters told from their alternating perspectives, the less they trust each other, the more tension mounts, building to an explosive climax that few readers will see coming.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The settings are haunting and Lepucki’s inquiry into the psychology of trust, both intimate and communal, is keen and compelling.”


  • California is a wonder: a big, gripping and inventive story built on quiet, precise human moments. Edan Lepucki’s eerie near future is vividly and persuasively imagined. She is a fierce new presence in American fiction.”

    Dana Spiotta, National Book Award–nominated author of Eat the Document

  • “Stunning and brilliant…A wholly original take on the post-apocalypse genre.”

    Dan Chaon, award-winning author of Await Your Reply

  • “There’s been no shortage of apocalyptic scenarios in our recent literature. What makes Edan Lepucki’s novel so stunning is that her survivors don’t merely resemble us, they are us, in their emotional particularity and dilemmas. The result is a book as terse and terrifying as the best of Shirley Jackson, on the one hand, and as clear-eyed and profound a portrait of a marriage as Evan Connell’s Mrs. Bridge, on the other. California is superb.”

    Matthew Specktor, author of The American Dream Machine

  • “It’s tempting to call this novel post-apocalyptic, but really, it’s about an apocalypse in progress, an apocalypse that might already be happening, one that doesn’r so much break life into before and after as unravel it bit by bit. Edan Lepucki tells her tale with preternatural clarity and total believability, in large part by focusing on the relationships—between husband and wife, brother and sister, parent and child—that are, it turns out, apocalypse-proof. Post-nothing. California is timeless.”

    Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

  • “Edan Lepucki is the very best kind of writer: simultaneously generous and precise. I am long been an admirer of her prose, but this book—this book, this massive, brilliant book—is a four alarm fire, the ambitious and rich introduction that a writer of her caliber deserves. I can’t wait for the world to know what I have known for so many years, that Edan Lepucki is the real thing, and that we will all be bowing at her feet before long.”

    Emma Straub, author of The Vacationers

  • “In her remarkable debut California, Edan Lepucki has conjured a post-apocalyptic vision that is honest, frightening, and altogether too realistic. At times disturbing and often heartbreaking, California is an original examination of the limitations of family and loyalty in a world on the verge of collapse.”

    Ivy Pochoda, author of Visitation Street

  • “Edan Lepucki’s novel California kept me up for five nights. This was a problem. However, I was not just tired, but often worried for the characters, for our world, and then astonished and laughing at her skill with humor and lyricism even in the fearful landscape. It’s a ruined place, yes, but the bonds of family, and the betrayal of blood, are as true as every in her surprising imagery and her complicated humans, who could be any of us.”

    Susan Straight, National Book Award–nominated author of Highwire Moon

  • “Breathtakingly original, fearless and inventive, pitch perfect in its portrayal of the intimacies and tiny betrayals of marriage, so utterly gripping it demands to be read in one sitting: Edan Lepucki’s California is the novel you have been waiting for, the novel that perfectly captures the hopes and anxieties of contemporary America. This is a novel that resonates on every level, a novel that stays with you for a lifetime. Read it now.”

    Joanna Rakoff, author of A Fortunate Age

  • “When the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper, you want a guide whose insight into the subtle revolutions of the heart are as nuanced as her perceptions about the broken world are astute. In prose witty, seductive, and exacting, Lepucki reminds us that, in the after-life of social collapse, it’s not only the strongest willed, but the most compassionate among us, who must rebuild. California is an epic of interiors.”

    Shya Scanlon, author of Forecast

  • California is carefully drawn and beautifully textured. It’s a pleasure to watch love and family transform in this dark, strange forest.”

    Ramona Ausubel, award-winning author of No One Is Here Except All of Us

  • Winner of the Fall 2014 Barnes & Noble Discover Award
  • A BookPage Best Book of 2014
  • A #1 Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for July 2014
  • A July 2014 LibraryReads Pick
  • A BookPage Top Pick, July 2014
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • An NPR Bestseller
  • A #1 San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller
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About the Author

Edan Lepucki is a graduate of Oberlin College and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and her short fiction has been published in Narrative Magazine, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Meridian, FiveChapters, and McSweeney’s, among others. She is a staff writer for The Millions and teaches creative writing at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and for Writing Workshops Los Angeles, which she founded.

About the Narrator

Emma Galvin won the 2011 Audie Award for best fiction narration, was a finalist for the Audie Award in 2012, and won six AudioFile Earphones Awards for her narrations. A graduate of the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, her film appearances include My Suicidal Sweetheart, A Perfect Fit, and The Big Bad Swim. She has performed in several regional theater productions, including Love Punky, The Power of Birds, and The Realm.