From Booklist

The catalysts for the current wave of postapocalyptic novels are many, from financial collapse to climate change, yet the bludgeoned, class-stratified, post-tech worlds writers envision are eerily similar. Still, from this blasted landscape, imaginative stories of survival by writers such as Margaret Atwood and James Howard Kunstler flower. First-time novelist Lepucki steps gamely into this arena to tell the tale of Frida and Cal, an ardent couple who have fled decimated Los Angeles to try to live off the land. Their only human contact is with a mysterious itinerant trader until they eventually discover a family homesteading nearby and learn of a strange, labyrinthine border of towering spikes. What is this structure protecting? The perils are many, everyone is vulnerable, and there is no reliable information beyond that of the senses, emotions, and intellect. Lepucki’s characters, therefore, must weigh every word, expression, and gesture. This results in too much disquisition through conversations, and the plot falters, but the settings are haunting and Lepucki’s inquiry into the psychology of trust, both intimate and communal, is keen and compelling.

 

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