New & notable: ‘The Last Days of California’

Posted Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

The Last Days of California

by Mary Miller

Liveright, $24.95

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Mary Miller, author of the short story collection Big World, is now based in Austin and has been granted a Michener fellowship at the University of Texas. A Mississippi native, Miller is the John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi. Whew!

Now she’s offering her debut novel, The Last Days of California — a different take on a coming-of-age and American road-trip story. On this cross-country, three-day trek, 15-year-old Jess, Jess’ secretly pregnant older and wilder sister, and their fundamentalist father and mother leave their home in Montgomery, Ala., and head west (through Texas, of course) for the End of Days in California.

Why California? It’s in the Pacific Time Zone — the last to witness the upcoming Rapture.

Jess, wearing her “King Jesus Returns” T-shirt, is the narrator of the tale. About her father, she says: “He didn’t really want all 7 billion people on the planet to be saved. We wouldn’t be special then. We wouldn’t be the chosen ones.”

— Celeste Williams

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