Last night, we had the absolute pleasure of welcoming Edan Lepucki to our store for her new novel, California. This was a much-anticipated event for many reasons. A few weeks ago, author Sherman Alexie recommended California while he was a guest on The Colbert Report. A few days later, Colbert mentioned the book again on his show, creating a campaign for readers to pre-order California through their local indie bookstores in light of the ongoing Amazon/ Hachette dispute. Support for Edan and California was overwhelming, and she later signed 10,000 pre-order copies of her book at the Powell’s warehouse in Portland, Oregon, proving that she is, in fact, a book-signing machine.
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 in the face of hardship and isolation. Mourning a past they can’t reclaim, they seek solace in each other. But the tentative existence they’ve built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she’s pregnant.
Terrified of the unknown and 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 dangers of its own. 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 deep-seated resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love. (Little, Brown and Company)
Vroman’s and Book Soup President, Allison Hill, introduced Edan to a room packed with guests, reminiscing about when she had first met Edan and when they had started working together. (Special thanks to Allison for making everyone in the room teary-eyed before the event had even started.)
Edan read a short passage from her book, detailing a transaction between Frida and August, the traveling salesman, and more information on Frida’s family and her past. I was taken with how Edan is able to write about remarkably bleak circumstances in such a lyrical manner. The discussion that followed was excellent; there were so many people with wonderful questions, and Edan had thoughtful advice for young authors and valuable insight on the writing process. It was apparent from the Q & A session why Edan is such a highly-regarded writing instructor.
Edan is a former Vroman’s Ed writing instructor and a former Book Soup bookseller, so she’s a part of
our family here and we couldn’t be more proud of her.
Thank you to everyone who stopped by last night!
Congratulations, Edan— we’re so incredibly excited for you!
Edan 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.