“A remarkable debut. Valencia writes with a sinuous maturity, a boldness of vision far beyond his years. In Lord of California, this beyond-seeing is literal: wild, impressive, at times menacing invention about what a separatist California might look like begins to look downright prescient, and Valencia’s portraitist skill with his characters lifts them off the page, too.”—Ryan McIlvain, author of Elders
Set in a future where the United States has dissolved and California is its own independent republic, Lord of California follows the struggles of the Temple family as they work at running a farm on a nationalized land parcel in the central San Joaquin Valley. When the family patriarch, Elliot, dies, it’s revealed that he had been keeping five separate families, and in the aftermath of their discovery, his widows and children must come together to keep from losing all they have. But their livelihood is threatened when Elliot’s estranged son tries to blackmail them, unleashing a series of violent confrontations between different factions of the family.
A sparse family drama reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy, combined with the intimate first-person narratives of Kazuo Ishiguro, Lord of California is a powerful debut novel.
Andrew Valencia was born in Fresno, California, and graduated with a BA in English from Stanford, where he was awarded a Levinthal Tutorial by the Creative Writing Program. He holds an MFA in fiction from the University of South Carolina, and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Silk Road Review, the Ploughshares blog, Day One, The Southern Pacific Review, The Fat City Review, Crack the Spine, and other publications.