Gold, Fame, Citrus

Everyone has already talked about Fates and Furies so I’ll skip writing about how it’s the most amazing portrait of misunderstandings and differing perceptions in a relationship I’ve ever seen.

Instead, let’s talk about Gold, Fame, Citrus,  by Claire Vaye Watkins. HOLY CRAP THIS NOVEL IS AMAZING.

They don’t seem to be much alike, at first, these novels. Groff runs long; Watkins is terse. Where Groff’s masterpiece takes place in an identifiable mid-1990s New York, Watkins goes with post-global-warming SoCal. And where Groff’s characters are subtly flawed, Watkins populates her post-evacuation hangers-on with PTSD-blasted refugees and deserters from futuristic wars, people whose psychic injuries are still seriously raw and visible.  There’s also a desert cult. And a secret prison. And a kidnapped baby.

They sound like totally different pieces of work, yet there’s a similarity here. In both novels, the protagonists struggle to reconcile ambition and caring, selflessness and sense of self. The settings couldn’t be more different, but I’m really glad I read them back to back.

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