The brilliant debut novel by the acclaimed author of The Accidental Life “The twisted truth about where California came from . . . A rare, original piece of work.” —Hunter S. Thompson
California Bloodstock is a novel of exploding imagination, an epic comic saga of nineteenth-century California. A fifteen-year-old heroine seeks revenge and comes of age in the tradition of True Grit. Like a female Huckleberry Finn, her heart reflects the ironies of history—Manifest Destiny, indeed. Gold is discovered in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, and a rag-tag republic is born out of a free-for-all landscape of blustering and doomed historical players—from John C. Freemont and Brigham Young to the Donner Party. The mythic “Animal People” gobble peyote, while boom-town San Francisco rollicks with the unhinged entrepreneurs selling fairy tale schemes to buckskin drifters and New York publishing scions. Even the legendary swordsman Zoro is here and at large, robbing stagecoaches in the idyllic grasslands that will all too soon become Silicon Valley. Read it and weep—with laughter as the so-called Golden State invents its future.
TERRY McDONELL has won numerous awards for his editorial work at various magazines and websites. He is also a novelist and poet, and has written and produced for film and television. In 2012 he was inducted into the American Society of Magazine… More about Terry McDonell
“An insane history lesson by an elegant and inspired writer; time-warping and anarchistic. Wildly comic, both lyrical and spiritual.” —Richard Price
“California Bloodstock is an oyster of a book, salty and delicious; a pearl-handled, silver barreled derringer of a book, small, elegant and snappy; a medicine rattle of a book, mystic and a little spooky. I was sickened, delighted and very impressed.” —Tom Robbins
“California Bloodstock is most stylishly composed, in the cool, nihilistic manner of Joan Didion and Thomas McGuane.” —Edward Abbey
“McDonell’s book goes off like a string of firecrackers. A zany, mean take-off on the Old West in a class with Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man and E.L. Doctorow’s Welcome to Hard Times. —Edward Hoagland
“A sure, swift book . . . like being set adrift in a High Sierra Rapids and banged, willy-nilly, against every rock in the river. A young woman is wronged; cowards flee in all directions; payback is sweet. The central figures of California history swagger through this delightfully nasty novel.” —Tim Cahill