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Disobedience (California Fiction) [Paperback]

Michael Drinkard
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

21 Oct 1996 0520206835 978-0520206830 Reprint
Not since Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 has there been as unsettling a fictional journey into the Southern California state of mind as Michael Drinkard's Disobedience. It is a darkly funny and unhingingly brilliant multi-generational novel set in the orange groves of Redlands, California, one that shuttles effortlessly from the late nineteenth century to the day after tomorrow. In 1885 Eliza Tibbets and her civil engineer husband, Luther, are strenuously trying to conceive a child. In frustration she plants the first Washington Navel orange tree in Southern California: from that act (and a fortuitous encounter with President McKinley...) will spring a family dynasty in the Inland Empire. In the late 1980s Eliza's spacey great-granddaughter Mavy Tibbets, daughter of novelist Bernal Tibbets - the author of that savage mid-seventies cult classic Ripcord - derails Franklin Wells from his 58.9K career with Solvtex, corporate marauders of the information age. In the very near future Mavy and Fanklin's teenaged son Aaron, an MGM (Mentally Gifted Minor) is beset by every variety of post-modern adolescent angst from the sexual to the ethical. He decides that saving the last remaining orange grove from his dad's real estate depredations - including the original tree, now called the Tibbets - is the only way he can redeem a universe threatened at every turn by digital and ecological apocalypse. What happens across the crowded span of more than a century in Disobedience reveals the multifarious way in which the frontier mentality keeps reinventing itself in California. A sort of cocktail of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five and a darker flavored Tom Robbins, this novel grabs you by theoranges and knows exactly how hard to squeeze. In Disobedience Michael Drinkard breaks all the rules to retool the American novel for the next millennium.

Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Reprint edition (21 Oct 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520206835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520206830
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 13.9 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,771,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

"Writers have always seen California as a place of promise as well as a territory of despair. . . . Drinkard has a strong sense of a California future full of technological and industrial wonders . . . and of cultural entropy. . . . He has a keen eye for detail, a sense of irony and the ability to draw sharply defined characters."--David W. Madden, "San Francisco Chronicle Review

About the Author

Michael Drinkard is the author of "Green Bananas" (1989). A native of Redlands, California, he is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz and holds an MFA in Writing from Columbia University.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars calif prose quanta 12 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is a throbbing fun chant, a glockenspiel, an information tsunami, a benevolent dose, a purple eye pouch, a navel orange, a sexy sprawl, a fanatical consumer, a big fat violent happy face. I laughed, I cried, I got wet.
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Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! What a book! 21 Feb 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book had me hooked from the start. At first, I thought Drinkard was deconstrucing history but what he's really doing is *reconstructing* history. I was most impressed with how the author shows the linneage of traits within this very screwed-up family. This work also has a great sense of humor without sacrificing the humanity of the characters- most notably, the teenage son of the near future.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Michael Drinkard is not only the most original and literate chrnonicler
of the Southern Californian landscape writing today, but also
an insightful, poetic, and innovative traveler of the territory of
childhood, of work, and of the psyche.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An imaginative first novel with a strong sense of history. 6 Sep 1998
By Jason MacCannell (speedrabbit@earthlink.net) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
From the Bear Flag Revolt to the mini-mall present, the military and industrial powers of white California have consistently attempted to define the state's future by redefining (or obliterating) its past. This is certainly not a unique characteristic of the powers-that-be, but in California, especially Southern California, they seem intent on rubbing it in our faces. Thus it is not surprising that young California writers are increasingly turning to the state's past, at a level beyond supermarket historical realism or postmodern surface-nostalgia, to attempt to come to grips with this region's unsettled and unsettling present. Drinkard succeeds in crossing the seemingly impenetrable haze that separates one generation's California from the next. Jumping from parent to child, womb to grave, the novel encompasses the boosterism, booms and busts of the McKinley era, the corporate greed of the nineteen-eighties, and a near-future setting so plausible that it barely qualifies as science fiction. The author shows how the emotional lives and destinies of the characters in each present are created in a history that is largely unknown to them, revealed only when disasters both man-made and natural literally turn up the bones of the past. The book is an enjoyable read, especially in the near-future setting, whose characters are the most lovingly detailed. Drinkard has not quite learned to write the distant past, though his treatment shows promise. The nineteenth-century portion is lovingly researched, but the speech and mannerisms of the characters did not ring true enough to immerse me in the setting. The near-future part is full of gizmos and knick-knacks (some would say "gimmicks") that resonate with both DeLillo at his more whimsical (White Noise) and Jonathan Lethem. I am not personally fond of the former writer, but anyone who is--you must be out there--will certainly enjoy this aspect of Drinkard's book. By far my favorite part of the book was set in the corporate high-rise culture of the nineteen-eighties, amidst the early growth of the "information superhighway" and the cocaine-fueled careers of its builders. In this part of the story Drinkard portrays the emotional and moral development of a young man in a way that any writer could be proud of; and he certainly surpasses most of the other writers dealing with the same subject matter. More importantly, it is the part of the book that gave me the greatest sense of time past, of history both made and in the making.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars calif prose quanta 12 Mar 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a throbbing fun chant, a glockenspiel, an information tsunami, a benevolent dose, a purple eye pouch, a navel orange, a sexy sprawl, a fanatical consumer, a big fat violent happy face. I laughed, I cried, I got wet.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on California counterculture available 28 Aug 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Michael Drinkard is not only the most original and literate chrnonicler
of the Southern Californian landscape writing today, but also
an insightful, poetic, and innovative traveler of the territory of
childhood, of work, and of the psyche.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! What a book! 21 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book had me hooked from the start. At first, I thought Drinkard was deconstrucing history but what he's really doing is *reconstructing* history. I was most impressed with how the author shows the linneage of traits within this very screwed-up family. This work also has a great sense of humor without sacrificing the humanity of the characters- most notably, the teenage son of the near future.
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