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Golden States

3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  91 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Hardcover, 241 pages
Published March 7th 1984 by Random House Value Publishing
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Erichg28 No, although it's not my least fave of his novels and I think has an awful lot to recommend it. (For what it's worth a friend of mine, who had only…moreNo, although it's not my least fave of his novels and I think has an awful lot to recommend it. (For what it's worth a friend of mine, who had only otherwise read The Hours was really taken with it and couldn't believe me when I said it was virtually disowned and long out of print).(less)
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Jan 17, 2011 Cameron rated it liked it
Golden States is Cunningham's first novel, and it definitely shows the growing pains of a writer moving from short stories into a longer form. Cunningham admits he wrote it in a feverish spat of productivity just before he turned thirty, worried that he'd end up a 60-year-old in a divey bar still talking about that novel he always meant to finish. In an interview about the book, he mentions that he's "so much more interested in some kind of grand ambitious failure than I am in someone's modest l ...more
Jan 13, 2016 Benjamin rated it really liked it
Shelves: coming-of-age
Twelve year old David lives with his mother and ten year old spoilt brat of a sister Lizzie, his older half-sister Janet has just returned home after getting cold feet over her imminent marriage to Rob. The family tries to support Janet as Rob pursues her, with David seeing himself as the protective man-of-the-house, defending his sister and warding off Rob and his persistent phone calls. David's growing maturity over his relationship with Janet conflicts with his constant childish battle of one ...more
Brian Swain
Nov 04, 2014 Brian Swain rated it it was ok
Quickly made it through Michael Cunningham's inaugural novel Golden States, a book that he pretty much disavows and which isn't even included on the list of past books that typically appears at the start of each new publication. I had the pleasure of chatting with Cunningham at a recent reading.signing in Houston, and while he was gracious about signing my copy, he stated that the decision to avoid including it in his published oeuvre was his publisher's rather than his own. He also indicated th ...more
May 27, 2008 Brandy rated it liked it
I don't think Michael Cunningham needs to deny the existence of this as much as he thinks he does. It's not a bad book. It's not great, but it's pretty obviously a first book by someone who shows a lot of promise.

There are several things going on here, but there are a lot of dropped threads. On the one hand, this can be chalked up to the limited perspective--we're seeing everything through 12-year-old David's eyes--but it ends up feeling like there were more things Cunningham had planned to do a
Daniel Parsons
Apr 13, 2009 Daniel Parsons rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: followers of Michael Cunningham; fans of teenage angst, characters having early identity crises
Shelves: glbt
Michael Cunningham's naive but stunning debut, since disowned, is a brilliant coming of age story as seen through the eyes of a teenager. Quite why Cunningham no longer even admits to Golden States' existence is beyond me. The depth of characterisation from his later masterworks "Flesh & Blood" and "Specimen Days" may not come through but for a first novel this is excellent. Hard to find (I paid $40 on eBay for an ex library hardback), Golden States is worth the trouble and is clearly the wo ...more
Jul 28, 2013 Kevin rated it really liked it
Cunningham, one of my top favorites is stellar in this first, unknown book. The book does not get much recognition from the literary world, and Cunningham himself does care to discuss it (or so I've read). I loved the story and prose that has always been why I enjoy his writing.

The word of 12 year old David in the 1970's was easy for me to relate to, and I found myself fantasizing about what the California coast between LA and San Francisco must have been like during the Ford-Carter years.
Feb 04, 2008 Jayme rated it liked it
Recommends it for: other Cunningham fans
Cunningham does a good job of hiding this book from his legacy, but I think that is unnecessary. I don't think it warrants banishment to dusty library shelves and the annals of Ebay. It is an interesting step towards the current classic of his that we love. The familial interaction, quirky habits and dialogue of his protagonists, as well as the wide scope of a particular region or era is still apparent. Anyone who has read the rest of his catalog should seek this one out; it doesn't deserve the ...more
Jan 20, 2016 Erichg28 rated it really liked it
Honestly, I'm with the others on here who don't think this book deserves to be out of print and, virtually, disowned by its author. I'm glad I tracked down a (reasonably priced) copy--it's a sometimes stunning coming of age novel, and some of its perceived weaknesses worked for me because it is told in the voice of a 12 year old boy. Much of the novel has stuck with me--years later--more than some of Cunningham's more recent fiction.
Collin Kelley
Mar 27, 2009 Collin Kelley rated it liked it
Michael Cunningham won't even claim this book anymore. I gave it three stars, because it's not really that bad. Certainly not up to The Hours or Specimen Days, but it is engaging It's central character is a 12-year-old boy whose burgeoning sexuality brings on all sorts of concerns, and there's a mystery surrounding his father, who left years ago and has another family. If you're a Cunningham fan, try to round up a copy. It's been out of print for ages.
Liz Musgrove
Mar 26, 2008 Liz Musgrove rated it it was ok
Author's first novel. As usual, lots of insights into child's mentality and family life. Has a strange journey in it where the young boy/main character runs away to "save" his sister and is picked up by a particularly creepy man who doesn't hurt him. A little too happy an ending for my taste.
Mar 17, 2012 ButYouGotMySoul rated it really liked it
I don't understand why the author is so completely ashamed of this wonderful book. There are some fantastic lines, and the tension throughout the story is executed brilliantly. It has the complete disconnected, wild thoughts of a child set down and put in print.
Serena Tardioli
Jan 09, 2015 Serena Tardioli rated it it was ok
Shelves: meh
You can tell this is Cunningham's first novel. It's very raw and it lacks finesse. I can understand why he basically disowned it.
Katie M.
Jun 22, 2010 Katie M. rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
Very much a first novel. Although even at his least impressive, Cunningham's still a pretty damn good writer.
Bo Abeille
Bo Abeille rated it liked it
May 25, 2011
Dina rated it it was ok
Jul 06, 2014
Becca rated it really liked it
Jun 04, 2015
Steven Elliott
Steven Elliott rated it it was amazing
Dec 02, 2011
Tony rated it it was amazing
Feb 16, 2015
Eli Klein
Eli Klein rated it really liked it
Feb 07, 2017
Joe rated it liked it
Apr 11, 2009
Eldon Mason
Eldon Mason rated it liked it
Feb 25, 2014
Omer rated it really liked it
Apr 20, 2013
Greg Schumaker
Greg Schumaker rated it really liked it
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Nightswimming rated it really liked it
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Bryan Dobson
Bryan Dobson rated it liked it
Nov 03, 2012
Splen rated it liked it
Jul 31, 2011
Monica Rodriguez
Monica Rodriguez rated it liked it
Sep 19, 2013
Steven rated it liked it
Oct 04, 2010
Linda rated it it was ok
Sep 26, 2008
Angel LaBeija
Angel LaBeija rated it liked it
Dec 29, 2012
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Michael Cunningham is the author of the novels A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours (winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award & Pulitzer Prize), Specimen Days, and By Nightfall, as well as the non-fiction book, Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown. His new novel, The Snow Queen, will be published in May of 2014. He lives in New York, and teaches at Yale University.
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