Edited by Gayle Wattawa
Heyday, $20.00, 304 pages

Someone once told me that my revenge was that I lived in California. I am still not sure what that meant, but envy can be a green-eyed monster. California is an American entity to itself. It is the Golden Country of the future, even if it is made fun of elsewhere. One may be surprised to find out that in some Western reading anthologies it is deliberately not included. There have been many California anthologies that sought to define the state, which is hard because there are many Californias.

New California Writing 2011 captures the full range and diversity of the largest state in the union. One will find here all sorts of ethnic and regional voices. Some believe the state could be divided into north and south. It also could be divided into urban and rural, low tech and high tech, cinematic and literary, rich and poor, white and colored, etc…. Revenge can be confused with activism. There are plenty of people trying to change the world in The Golden State. The Bay Area in particular has been a great place to air one’s politics. One can also do so cinematically in the City of Angels. This serious anthology is a great collection of stories, histories, and terse complaints that hope to change the country.

Reviewed by Ryder Miller