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Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State

Daphne flees her sensible but strained life in San Francisco for the high desert of Altavista with her toddler. Bucking under the weight of being a single parent, she takes refuge in a mobile home left to her by her grandparents. Over the next 10 days, Daphne wanders the town looking for anyone and anything to punctuate the long hours alone with the baby. Among others, she meets Cindy, a neighbor who is active in a secessionist movement, and befriends the elderly Alice, who has traveled to Altavista as she approaches the end of her life.