Please join us on Tuesday, September 19 at 7:00 PM Pacific Time as we welcome author Melanie Benjamin for a conversation about her new novel, CALIFORNIA GOLDEN.
This event will be in person at the store at 6120 La Salle Ave., Oakland, CA 94611.
Two sisters navigate the thrilling, euphoric early days of California surf culture in this dazzling saga of ambition, sacrifice, and the tangled ties between mothers and daughters from the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife.
“A shimmering rendering . . . pairs the surf culture of the Beach Boys with the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll of Daisy Jones & The Six.”—Entertainment Weekly (“Best Books of the Summer”)
Southern California, 1960s: endless sunny days surfing in Malibu, followed by glittering neon nights at Whisky a Go Go. In an era when women are expected to be housewives, Carol Donnelly breaks the mold as a legendary female surfer struggling to compete in a male-dominated sport—and her daughters, Mindy and Ginger, bear the weight of Carol’s unconventional lifestyle.
The Donnelly sisters grow up enduring their mother’s absence—physically, when she’s at the beach, and emotionally, the rare times she’s at home. To escape questions about Carol’s whereabouts—and to chase her elusive affection—they cut school to spend their days in the surf. From her first time on a board, Mindy is a natural, but Ginger, two years younger, feels out of place in the water.
As they grow up and their lives diverge, Mindy and Ginger’s relationship ebbs and flows. Mindy finds herself swept up in celebrity, complete with beachside love affairs, parties at the Playboy Club, and a USO tour in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Ginger, desperate for a community of her own, is tugged into the dangerous counterculture of drugs and cults. But through it all, their sense of duty to each other survives, as the girls are forever connected by the emotional damage they carry from their unorthodox childhood.
A gripping, emotional story set at a time when mothers were expected to be Donna Reed, not Gidget, California Golden is an unforgettable novel about three women living in a society that was shifting as tempestuously as the breaking waves.
About the Author
Melanie Benjamin is a prize-winning novelist and the New York Times bestselling author of The Children’s Blizzard, Mistress of the Ritz, The Girls in the Picture, The Swans of Fifth Avenue, The Aviator’s Wife, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, and Alice I Have Been. Benjamin lives in Chicago.
“Melanie Benjamin pairs the surf culture of the Beach Boys with the sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll of Daisy Jones & the Six. . . . Benjamin’s novel is a portrait of three women beset by shifting cultural tides and a shimmering rendering of the promises and heartbreak of Southern California.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Benjamin vividly evokes the squalor and splendor of California surfing culture in this richly-textured novel that explores sisterhood, motherhood, ambition and friendship, with characters who rise alive from the page. It’s rare to find such raw, honest sympathy for human beings and their capacity for mistakes and redemption. California Golden is a breath of bracing salt air.”—Beatriz Williams, author of A Hundred Summers