Two Californias

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  • 9/10/20: KGB Bar, New York City, NY

Quirky, bittersweet, and darkly funny, Robert Glick laces the psychological realism of family drama with lyric, associative language and intricate plot structures. A young boy goes on a quest to buy an elephant pendant that he believes will save his parents' marriage. An anarchist, channeling his rage from his father’s premature death, starts an underground needle exchange program. Trapped between his alcoholic pharmacist boss and his best friend, who is illegally trafficking Ritalin, a teenager learns empathy through Ms. Pacman and elder care homes. From the suburbs of Los Angeles to the countercultures of the Bay Area, the emotionally powerful, intricately woven stories in Two Californias explore the unexpected and unorthodox ways we come to terms with everyday tragedies.

Buy This Broadside!

Check out this gorgeous broadside, designed and letterpressed by Anne Royston. Size is 11 1/4" by 15 1/4". Text excerpt from the novella "Failure Mechanism (Voicebox)" in Two Californias. Limited first edition of 50. $25 (includes US shipping and handling) via Paypal or Venmo. If you buy one now, $5 of each purchase will be donated to RAICES (The Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Services).

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Advance praise for Two Californias

Disturbing, tender, revelatory, and gorgeously expansive, Two Californias offers provocative pleasures even as it delivers us to the endless grief of desire, the bewildering repercussions of kindness, the terrible cost of unveiled devotion. Readers fierce enough to plunge to the depths of their own fears will be exhilarated by the emotional complexity, abiding humanity, and transcendent beauty of this eloquent collection.
Melanie Rae Thon, author of Voice of the River

The people inhabiting these stories are fully in their complex lives, yet they’re rendered through a kind of hyper vivid language that makes their struggles seem hopeful just due to the great play of the words. What a rollickingly alive debut!
Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

In Robert Glick’s bravura collection — in which, by way of ambiance, old-fashioned pencil sharpeners seem to turn in character’s stomachs and four-pound postage scales are set to spin, by imagined overburden, upwards of 70 times — sad boys hide in trunks and covered jacuzzis, grandmothers rise from the dead and mermaids on matte silver pedestals have their heads taken off with chainsaws. Two Californias is a fizzing, crackling, nightmarish wonderfest. I was in from the dusty oaks in the first paragraph to the rattlesnake in the last.
Laird Hunt, author of Kind One and The Evening Road

Recent News

4/27/20: Review of Two Californias in The Literary Review

Endless thanks to Karin Falcone Krieger for this gorgeous review of Two Californias in The Literary Review. Besides the nice ego boost and the fuzzy feeling when you know the book (especially in difficult times) has been circulating, I’m also starting to treasure the different ways each reviewer approaches the book – which topics are subjects of focus, which stories, which writing lineage the book splays out from. I love the review’s notation of menace underlying the stories, and am touched/humbled by calling the book a “Gen X Thomas Pynchon or low key cousin of David Foster Wallace.” Thanks, Karin!

4/15/20: Review of Two Californias in THE SEM10TIC STANDARD

Thanks so much to R. Leigh Hennig for a glowing spotlight (with the humbling post title “Superiority Through Characterization”!!!) in THE SEM10TIC STANDARD. I admit that I didn’t think I’d ever be favorably compared (or compared at all) to Stephen King! I really appreciate Leigh’s insights into character development in 2C, and especially the ways that he thinks of Two Californias in terms of the horror genre; that horror, or domestic horror, doesn’t intrinsically involve the supernatural or even the superviolent…

3/29/20: Review of Two Californias in Compulsive Reader

A boost to the ego amidst quarantine days.

Lots of gratitude and appreciation to Juliana Converse for writing a terrific and incisive review of 2C, and to Maggie Ball for hosting/spearheading the wonderful Compulsive Reader. Such a wonderful feeling not simply to be complimented; more that someone has spent deep time with the work, digested it, and evolved it with their own words. 2C, for Converse, with language that “is vibrant, even magical, and often humorous,” conveys how “our attempts to reconcile loss are imperfect, and ultimately transforming.” Thank you!!!

Compulsive Review / Review of Two Californias

3/3/20: Profile in 585 Magazine

Thank you thank you to Christine Green for this wonderful profile in Rochester’s super 585 Magazine, and to ever-co-conspirators Rachel Marston and Shena McAuliffe for providing info on me, writing, and Two Californias. I’m looking forward to the release party this evening!

2/25/20: The Pico Act, & Redemption of the Mokapot

I was going to write a little something about the Pico Act, which would, around 1859, have split California in two, largely to preserve the potential of a free state (n. cal) and a slave state (s. cal), and which was approved (overwhelmingly!) by the California legislature, and would have been ratified had it not been for the Civil War, but there’s lots of docs that do this better, and so I merely want to point out that my favorite mode of coffee production, the Mokapot, which I’ve carted pretty much everywhere, and is fairly endangered (so far as home coffee makers go) has a nice social history in Atlas Obscura.

How much do I love my Mokapot? In “Goat Pharmacy,” nestled in the middle of Two Californias, I named a character Mrs. Bialetti.

2/21/20: Interview in Lit Pub

Very excited to chat about teaching, Two Californias, and The Paradox of Wonder Woman’s Airplane with Kristina Marie Darling in Lit Pub – check it out!

2/10/20: Review of Two Californias in Entropy

And reviews start to flow in! Daniel J. Cecil’s smart and incisive look at Two Californias is now up at Entropy Mag (https://entropymag.org/two-californias-robert-glick/). Thanks Daniel!!!

3/3/20: AWP Engagements

Sadly we’re not going to go. No interest in being a potential vector, or infecting my parents, whom I’ll see next week. If you go: please check out the C&R Booth 1535, where you can purchase Two Californias or other C&R Books, and attend the readings below!

Coffee Talk in the AWP Book Fair, Thursday, March 5: 10:30-11:30AM: Find me at the C&R Booth 1535, where I’ll be signing books. More broadly, please come by at any time to check out all C&R’s great great books, including Two Californias

C&R Reading, Friday, March 6, 4-6PM: https://www.facebook.com/events/495388414457224/

UofU Reading, Friday, March 6, 7-9PM: https://www.facebook.com/events/1239354199589573/

1/29/20: reviews, big and small, come marching in…

and they always amaze you not simply for their kind words, but because they anticipate and articulate things you yourself can’t/couldn’t. Many many thanks to Gerry Schwartz, who writes, “Part of the greatness of Two Californias derives from its vertiginous variety…The long shadows of Beckett, Hubert Selby, Jr., and others do hang low over this work, yet Glick nearly always sounds fresh. To read him is to refresh your sense of fiction’s possibilities.”

2/6/20: Two Californias Release Party, Part Two

Super pleased to be teaming up with Rochester’s great Writers & Books for a second release party for Two Californias. The reading (snacks, pineapple erasers, etc.) will be in conjunction with a workshop that Saturday on exploring the flat spots in story. Let’s hope for good weather!

Event details: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/two-californias-by-robert-glick-book-launch-tickets-86226205903

Workshop details: https://wab.org/event/opportunity-spaces-exploring-the-flat-spots-in-story-2/