New California Writing 20133 star

 

 

Edited by Gayle Wattawa & Kirk Glaser
Heyday, $20.00, 351 pages

I once thought of moving back to New York City and starting a book group with California and The West as its subject. Save some people the trouble I think. There is something about the Golden State that is likely to take the voyager by surprise. With hope there is also disappointment. One is not always prepared for diversity which can be political, personal and ideological. One can find themselves in the wrong, unappreciated and troubled crowd.

“In considering California writers and comparing them (gingerly) to those who live elsewhere, I am not suggesting hierarchies of excellence but distinctions that make a difference.”

A interesting question about New California Writing 2013 is if the series can answer the question of whether or not someone should move to California. The Grapes of Wrath is a classic but the situation has changed. One may also glean insights from The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. One may identify it as a tale about trying to make it on The Western Shore. 2013 has some great stories, creative non fiction and poems. They revel in the diversity of The Golden State. Readers are likely to find a story about one’s self or group. The book is not quite a celebration but does recognize that the state struggles to survive and defend its values. All sorts of great voices and stories are showcased.

Reviewed by Ryder Miller

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