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The Golden State


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A breakout debut novel featured in the US by Buzzfeed, Elle, Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, about a young woman navigating the worlds of the private and the political in a fractured America.

About the Author

Lydia Kiesling is the editor of The Millions. Her debut novel, The Golden State, was longlisted for the Centre for Fiction's First Novel Prize. Her essays and criticism have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Guardian, Slate and the New Yorker online. Kiesling lives in San Francisco with her family.


`[Kiesling's] work is always artful, accessible and never trivial. The Golden State shines with all her expected qualities and, in the scope of a novel, brimming with layered writing, she has allowed herself to be expansive as well as intense...What Kiesling describes better than anyone I can think of is the selfless depth of motherhood.' * Age *
`Vivid and immersive...Daphne's endless days with Honey capture the intensity in the tedium of parenting, and it is this that keeps The Golden State compelling.' * Saturday Paper *
`In heartrending prose, Lydia Kiesling weaves through an exploration of the political and the private, fear and love, survival and obligation, loneliness and longing.' * Best Books of Fall 2018, Buzzfeed *
`The Golden State anchors Daphne's journey in the visceral and material realities of motherhood...the result is less an untroubled analogy between the landscapes of motherhood and the American West than an invitation to think more deeply about how limited our canonical literary imaginings of each have been.' * Sarah Blackwood, The New Yorker *
`The depictions are remarkably faithful, like a trompe l'oeil painting of a single parent's mental state.' * Wall Street Journal *
`Kiesling is a talented author...with a unique voice. She's very smart, very funny, and wonderfully empathetic...[A] skilled and promising writer.' * Kirkus Reviews *
'An astute cultural commentator, shedding light on our current political divide, Kiesling writes with breathtaking precision and honesty about motherhood.' * San Francisco Chronicle *
`A lucid, lyrical look at the often alienating, disorienting experience of early motherhood...More than that, though, Kiesling beautifully explores not just the changed identity that comes with motherhood, but that which comes with partnership, aging, and the sudden realization that the parts of your identity you once thought were most immutable, are actually as ephemeral as that precious, fleeting golden hour of the day.' * Nylon, Best Books of 2018 *
`This tender, lush book-centred on a new single mom who ditches city life for the Northern California desert-profoundly depicts young motherhood and its challenges as I haven't quite read before.' * Entertainment Weekly, Best Books of 2018 *
'The Golden State is packed with insight and questions. It ruminates on age, on class and culture, on the concept of 'home', on the place of language in our identities, the way that isolation can create ignorance, and most importantly, on the value of human relationships in all the forms they take.' * Zoya Patel, South Coast Register *
`This is an endlessly readable story of a typically fallible and first-time mother who does not take herself too seriously. It is just hugely enjoyable and familiar all round.' * Otago Daily Times *

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