Elevate Difference's Reviews > Hymn California

Hymn California by Adam Gnade
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Jan 10, 09

Read in January, 2009

Adam Gnade’s debut novel, Hymn California, is a dizzying recollection of seamlessly aimless cross county wanderings. The summations of this work gives glimpses into humankind’s most integral information: we’re animals so don’t be afraid to act on your instincts.

The overall story is reminiscent of a slightly less drug induced Kerouac, fueled by an avid admiration for alcohol. If you are in need for the long lost whimsy of youth and need some inspiration for your next cross country road trip, you just might find it in this book.

Amid love, confusion, and thousands of miles driven, the haunt of the main character’s hometown seems ever-present. No matter how hard the protagonist tries, the call of California rules him. Tempestuous and unsatisfied, his Greyhound travels and driving for days on end, is something every American teen dreams of. If you’re of the traveling spirit, it’s easy to find solace in this character’s madness.

Gnade’s ability to capture the essence of the weary road warrior is poetic and plentiful with personal glances into this subculture. His stream of consciousness writing can be a bit longwinded at times, but it pays off in the end. I can’t wait to see what the author has in store next.

Review by A. Mariel Westermeyer
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