Available Mar 2018
The first time Natalie Singer learns about California, she’s nine, tucked between library stacks, a Canadian blizzard outside. In a book called All About California, she reads of mythological griffins, rupturing earthquakes, furnace deserts, and Hollywood stars, and an imprinting takes place. Could California be an answer to her dull existence in the nowhere of the North and the family secrets seeping out from behind closed doors? The fantasy of California blooms out of Singer’s father’s collection of Beach Boys records, her pretty mother’s perfect red nails, the boys and men she tries hungrily to connect with, and the haunting memory of being interrogated on a courtroom witness stand. At sixteen, she finally goes west to the place of her obsessions to find out whether you can cure longing with landscape alone. Reckoning with the power that family and cultural myths hold over us, California Calling is a universal coming-of-age story and one woman’s lyrical, achingly honest search for a state of belonging.
In California Calling: A Self-Interrogation, Natalie Singer brings the universal themes of longing and displacement to life in a singular, inimitable voice. California Calling is a story of yearning for a home that no longer exists, a story of place—both real and iconic. But most of all this is a book about disruption and an interrogation in which form mirrors content; the questions leveled at the narrator become, in the end, Singer’s questions for the reader, who is left to revisit their own notions of identity, home, and belonging. Natalie Singer is an important writer we’ll be sure to be hearing from for years to come.
- Theo Pauline Nestor
- Author of Writing Is My Drink
I couldn’t stop reading California Calling—I consumed it in one gorgeous gulp. Natalie Singer writes beautifully of an ordinary, extraordinary coming of age. In prose that’s lean and elegant and fiercely honest, she captures the big pain and the small, real joys of growing up. This book shimmers like a California dream.
- Claire Dederer
- Author of Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning
Natalie Singer’s wonderful debut is about the myths we tell ourselves about ourselves as nations and individuals, and what we do when we learn about the truth beneath those myths. Singer situates California Calling within the geographic, literary and pop culture of the American West but the story she tells will ring true to anyone who is or knows a daughter, a woman, an immigrant.
- Rebecca Brown
- Author of The Gifts of the Body