Gold Fame Citrus - Claire Vaye Watkins
I received a copy of this from Real Readers to review and I am grateful for the opportunity to read this purposeful new fiction.
An intriguing title, for sure. As I began to read it seemed to have all the hallmarks of a debut novel, extravagant descriptions and an abundance of detail from an enthusiastic writer that is often not sustained throughout the whole book.
But as I plunged into the meat of the story I realised this poetry is very much the style of this young author. Some of the writing is exceptional.
As a bare bones story there is much that is reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy and James Dashner. And I suppose it was the references to the dune sea and the scarcity of water but I was fleetingly reminded of Frank Herbert’s Dune.
None of the characters are especially nice people, but they are trying to survive in a not very nice world. And nothing is at it seems.
I think this is an ambitious work for a first novel and there is something here that makes me think we either have a pretention that defies true literary fiction or we are on the brink of a unique and significant new talent. I fervently hope it is the latter.
Is this just another dystopian tale of pre apocalyptic demise, love, betrayal and survival or is it an intuitive allegory of the current state of our world?
And the answer to that question is, I think, what will define this as landmark novel or something to be dismissed.
I am dithering on the fence with my answer but I just have this goosebumpy feeling that this book is important.