One day Daphne, a young San Franciscan mother overwhelmed by life’s demands, walks out of her job. She gathers up her baby, Honey, and heads for a remote and rugged region of California called Altavista, staying in a mobile home inherited from her family. Daphne soon meets her neighbors, including anti-government secessionists and Alice, an elderly woman with a tragic past. She Skypes often with her husband Engin who, on account of a clerical error with his visa, is stranded in his native Turkey. Through the tedium of her everyday routine – activities like changing diapers and juggling a baby carrier – the complexities and, at times, paranoia of motherhood unfold.
The Golden State is a debut novel written in a stream of consciousness style mirroring the main character’s scrambled inner thought process. While the literary fiction has a timeless quality, much of the content is relevant to today’s world: rural vs. urban, individualism vs. collectivism, and tolerance vs. intolerance. Daphne’s plight will certainly speak to a lot of women balancing the demands of career, family and community in the 21st century.