Lydia Kiesling on Writing An Oil Novel In The Age of Climate Change

Jane Ciabattari at Literary Hub:

Lydia Kiesling’s first novel, The Golden State, begins with her stressed-out narrator Daphne grabbing her toddler from day care and taking off from her job at the Al-Ihsan Institute in Berkeley. She drives to the mobile home her late grandparents left her in Alta Vista in the high desert of Northern California, where she encounters a neighbor aligned with the radical right State of Jefferson movement and a sympathetic older woman who has spent time in Turkey. Meanwhile, Daphne’s husband is in immigrant limbo at his mother’s house in Istanbul after being tricked into giving up his green card. Based on this multi-textured and sparkling debut, Kiesling was a 2018 National Book Foundation “5 under 35” honoree.

Kiesling’s new novel, Mobility, also tracks a single narrator on a journey. When we first meet Bunny Glenn she is a bored, boy-crazy fifteen year old “diplomat brat” living in Baku, on the oil-rich Caspian Sea, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Her travels as she comes of age and becomes an aspirational worker in the oil industry carry her around the globe, ultimately back to Baku.

More here.