4 of 16
400 pages; Little, Brown and Company
Emerson's assertion that "solitude is impractical, and society fatal" casts its misanthropic glow in Edan Lepucki's California. Abandoning a decaying L.A. for the California wilderness, Frida and Cal seek out a reclusive community rumored to be hiding nearby. Soon after they arrive, it becomes clear that there's little kindness to be found in the company of these strangers. Shadows of economic disparity and societal collapse further darken Lepucki's foreboding vision of America's fall from grace. With so much gone from the world as the couple knew it, the only remaining touchstone is their relationship: As Cal concludes, "I have no interest in finding out what's beyond the territory we've already explored.... All I need, all I want, is right here. With you."
— Sarah Meyer