Dana Johnson’s 2012 novel is a beautifully rendered coming-of-age saga spanning decades.

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“Elsewhere, California” by Dana Johnson (Counterpoint Press)

When diving into Dana Johnson’s Elsewhere, California, we are immersed into the technical terrain of interpersonal relationships, mainly ones familial. With her expertise and scope, Johnson constructs a familial portrait of nuanced coming-of-age, with her protagonist Avery painted front and center. But when cousin Keith enters the picture, intermittently living with the family, the two relatives’ dynamics swell and wane throughout years of tumultuous ambivalence, and fraught affability. As the two grow older, Avery examines the demise and alienation of Keith, the very same cousin she used to look up to, now a picture of wasted promise. …

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A.M. Kenyi

A.M. Kenyi is a writer based in New York.

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