Freeman’s: California

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Freeman’s California, an anthology from New York editor John Freeman, contains some fascinating and moving writing about the Golden State. It claims to be the best new writings on California, and there are some amazing selections here. California may not beckon here for all readers, with this being so contemporary that it already covers the fires that have devastated areas of the state. There is also discord, hard situations, hard history, and racial prejudice. Though not a lot of history in this; instead, there is some contemporary malaise. This collection, though, is literary, showing the reader the experiences of the writers who went out to the beautiful coastal state recently.

The writers in this one are very accomplished, having won honors; academic prizes and jobs; and awards. A significant portion of the writers for this book are from New York, with many of the contributors being college professors from the Big Apple and nearby. There are writings about Los Angeles, San Francisco, the Central Valley, the LGBT community, and the coast, all from a diversity of different kinds of writers. Some of the most memorable pieces are those about the fires which burnt down the city of Paradise and other parts of the state. “The Fires,” from award winner William T. Vollmann, here as an insert, is a particular stand out. The anthology also abounds with poetry from award winners. Missing for some might be the idealism and futurism that has made the Golden State distinguished. A beleaguered California, though, excises its newest wounds here with startling writing, and we hope it will heal as it has done in the past.

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Star Count 4.5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher Grove Press
Publish Date 2019-10-08
ISBN 9780802147875 Buy this Book
Issue December 2019
Category Poetry & Short Stories


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