Picture of author.

Lydia Kiesling

Teoksen The Golden State tekijä

2 teosta 280 jäsentä 15 arvostelua

Tietoja tekijästä

Image credit: pulled from author's website, lydiakeisling.com

Tekijän teokset

The Golden State (2018) 203 kappaletta
Mobility: A Novel (2023) 77 kappaletta

Merkitty avainsanalla


Maa (karttaa varten)
San Francisco, California, USA
Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
National Book Foundation, 5 Under 35 Honoree (2018)



Daphne leaves her unsatisfying administrative job at a San Francisco university to spend a few days with her one-year-old daughter in the California high country. Immigration issues have stranded her husband in Turkey, and a tragic occurrence at her job has left her disoriented. Packing up the house left to her by the recent deaths of her mother and grandparents, she deals with her memories, cares for her daughter, and tries to reconnect with the community she hasn't seen since childhood. But there's a lot going on under the surface in this rural town. Daphne finds a friend of sorts in Alice, a somewhat mysterious older woman travelling the area alone.

What impressed me about this book was Lydia Kiesling's ability to write about the everyday tasks of our lives with truth, insight and sly humor. She can write about the tedious yet oddly absorbing and sometimes terrifying routine of caring for a young toddler in a way that brings back my memories of those days. She describes the utterly mundane tasks of an average office job, and also the unwarranted importance given to those tasks, and even the guilt when what seems a simple, meaningless decision goes horribly wrong. But that's not all -- Kiesling also writes about some of the most prominent issues facing us today: our problematic immigration system and the threat of right-wing political radicalism. And she also includes the developing friendship between Daphne and older, somewhat cranky Alice, which goes in several unexpected directions, and even Daphne's adjustment to the grief of losing her mother and grandparents and thus her connection to the area. So many threads to Daphne's story, but they are all thoughtfully and intelligently written and make up a book that really does seem like a slice of life and not just a story.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
sophroniaborgia | 10 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 15, 2024 |
Physical mobility, social mobility, professional mobility. Extracting, moving, selling, using.

This book is about oil and the euphemistically termed Energy Industry. Big oil, small private oil. From owners of mineral rights in Texas, to middlemen, to the men and women working in the field, to big companies and governments wheeling, dealing, and manipulating for their own best interests. The consular service employees and families, the journalists tagging along to play the game or expose what they can.

That sounds boring--but it isn't. This is ecofiction/climate fiction and Kiesling focuses on individuals who play this game--intentionally, who fall into it, who are born into it, who accidentally land in it, who fight it.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Dreesie | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 29, 2023 |
The idea here is good, but this needed more central characters that were enjoyable or just to be shorter and to the point. It's just a bit too meandering with a single vapid person for me. I enjoyed the geopolitics much more than the coming of age bits.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
KallieGrace | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 16, 2023 |
Kiesling’s novel has an unusual focus: a young woman at loose ends. Her temporary work placement at a Texas engineering firm fortuitously provides a route to employment in the oil/energy industry. The book is something of a coming-of-age story, but not quite as much as is advertised, mainly because the central character is incapable of genuine transformation. The raw material just isn’t there.

The reader first meets Elizabeth “Bunny” Glenn in Baku, Azerbaijan in the summer of 1998 where her father has recently been stationed as a member of the US Foreign Service. The girl’s mother has returned to Texas to look after her ailing mother, taking the youngest child, “Small Ted”, with her. Fifteen-year-old Bunny remains in Baku with John, her older brother, and their dad.

At no point did I find Bunny likeable or sympathetic. However, the greater problem for me was that she isn’t even interesting. We’re led to believe that either puberty or too much time away from family—among her peer group at an elite New England private school—transformed the once bright, curious, and motivated child into a self-absorbed, boy-crazy adolescent. While her motivated brother joins a running club in Baku, Bunny wanders the streets, pores over fashion magazines, experiments with cosmetics, and surreptitiously smokes. Her mother had been understandably reluctant to leave her unsupervised.

Kiesling follows her protagonist from her teenaged years through to age 68 (the year 2051) when Bunny’s daughter Pamela is about to give birth. The novel provides the reader with a snapshot of the oil industry, its corrupt practices and dark partnership with the US government, the narratives (propaganda) it generates about itself, and the ways in which it has had to pivot and rebrand itself in response to the times. Feminism, climate change (particularly the apocalyptic flooding of recent years), geopolitics, and events of international significance (including Covid) are also explored.

Kiesling’s writing is generally strong and her reach is ambitious. I was interested enough to complete the book, but I did not love it. I’ve already mentioned the problem of Bunny—a dull, superficial, and essentially amoral character, who seems to be adrift for much of the novel. As I said, she didn’t engage me, and I think it was audacious of Kiesling to place this character and her banal existence at the centre of the book. But there are other problems, too. I understand the importance of setting the scene, bringing rather exotic Azerbaijan to life and impressing upon the reader just how much a place changes when major corporations discover its rich resources, but too much detail about Baku’s unusual architecture has been included here. I wish an editor had reined Kiesling in. While Mobility is a stimulating read, its 368-page page count would have benefited from being trimmed by at least a quarter.

Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for providing me with an advanced reader copy.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
fountainoverflows | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 25, 2023 |



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