This was another audiobook attempt, and it's another that I think I would have liked better in print. Luz and Ray are squatting in a movie star's abandoned mansion, trying to survive in a parched California of the near future. When a toddler enters their lives, they decide to escape the area in a search of a better life. Their trek across the desert brings them to a compelling group of people who seem to be thriving under their charismatic leader with a talent for finding water. This dystopian novel is bleak--not quite on par with Cormac McCarthy's The Road (the epitome of bleak novels, for me), but it evokes some of the same feelings. And while the narrator was good, the writing didn't lend itself well to audio; one part was so repetitious that I skipped ahead. Watkins is a talented writer, though, so check out the print version if the story interests you. I'd love to hear opinions from others who read this one.
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From the publisher’s description:
In a parched southern California of the near future, Luz, once the poster child for the country’s conservation movement, and Ray, an army deserter turned surfer, are squatting in a starlet’s abandoned mansion. Most “Mojavs,” prevented by armed vigilantes from freely crossing borders to lusher regions, have allowed themselves to be evacuated to encampments in the east. Holdouts like Ray and Luz subsist on rationed cola and water, and whatever they can loot, scavenge, and improvise.
For the moment, the couple’s fragile love, which somehow blooms in this arid place, seems enough. But when they cross paths with a mysterious child, the thirst for a better future begins.
Immensely moving, profoundly disquieting, and mind-blowingly original, Watkins’s novel explores the myths we believe about others and tell about ourselves, the double-edged power of our most cherished relationships, and the shape of hope in a precarious future that may be our own.