What do you get when you combine a co-dependent woman from a trailer park who looks for love in a mother exhibiting the early signs of Alzheimer’s and the prison pen pal classifieds, a miserable writer who pounds out obituaries in the office basement, but finds light in his newfound stripper crush, a widower who laments on lost days and lingers in daydreams while selling tuxedos, and an overextended and controlling realtor who seeks her worth in clientele percentages while making everyone around her feel rejected? Let’s also add a dash of the impending governor race where an equally colorful lineup of characters runs for term, the brightest hue being Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mix all of these elements together and you have one hilarious, as well as promising, unveiling in Golden State. David Prybil has created a motley crew of characters who writhe from the page against the backdrop of a state in need of change. The characters’ agony, triumphs, and ever-present hope in the American Dream is heartfelt and achingly honest, a mirror to the subplot, which is based on fact.
Planted in the capital of California, Sacramento, the story follows a cast who exemplify the tenacity of the search, for whatever their personal desires are. For one the search leads to Russia where he pines for love, another to the dismal dankness of a strip bar, each yearning alike in the pursuit of validation. In concise chapters, laced in a conversational pace, the reader is invited to sink into the lives of these hopefuls. Prybil’s use of smart language drifts from formal to colloquial, whichever the occasion calls for, and he instills the backdrop of lively image in every scene. At times, some of the language can teeter on cliché and, in fact, does cross over (“It was like a fairytale,” “He was like putty in her hands”), which can be off-putting. But then he promptly redeems his talent by giving his readers dialogue and story that gleam.
Much like the realistic environment of state citizens then and now, his characters, in their weakness and challenge, are made strong. This novel exhibits the quest for what we all want, the dream and the interconnected journey along the way.
|Page Count||368 pages|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|