California Calling; A Self-Interrogation.

Author:Schingler, Michelle Anne
Position:Book review

Natalie Singer; CALIFORNIA CALLING; Hawthorne Books (Nonfiction: Autobiography & Memoir) 18.95 ISBN: 9780998825717

Byline: Michelle Anne Schingler

"California is a fable. A fantasy. A fiction," Natalie Singer writes of her adopted home. "A metamorphosis." So it was for the explorers and prospectors who first clambered over the Sierra to find it; so it remains for every wave of subsequent immigrants to fall under its spell. So it was for her.

In her captivating literary memoir, Singer recalls finding California in waves. She fell in love with the idea of it as a child; she met it face to face in her teen years, when her mother relocated their family to a town just beyond the San Francisco Bay. But as much as her book is a celebration of place, it is also about the insatiability of hunger for home. Buried in her pages, even when she's most wrapped up in California's glow, is a searing sense of loss.

The interrogation referred to in the title is both a memory and a reconstruction. When she was sixteen, a family court demanded that she justify her family in order to keep it. She couldn't find the words. Not then. Now, in retrospect, she paints a picture of a family...

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