Claire Vaye Watkins

Cindy Seip

Claire Vaye Watkins is the author of Gold Fame Citrus: A Novel and the short story collection Battleborn. In I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness: A Novel (Riverhead Books), a writer leaves behind her husband and infant daughter to get on a flight for a speaking engagement in Reno, not carrying much besides a breast pump and a spiraling case of postpartum depression. We follow her in her temporary escape from domestic duties as she grabs at the opportunity to reconnect with old friends. Soon, she’s on an extended romp away from the confines of marriage and motherhood – and embarking on a seemingly bottomless descent into the past. Deep in the Mojave Desert where she grew up, she meets ghosts at every turn. She can’t go back in time to make any of it right; what is her way forward? But it’s when she’s alone in the wilderness that she begins to make herself at home in the world at last. Booklist called it a “wily fusion of autobiography and imagination. [Watkins is] reckless, infuriating, ribald, incisive, and hilarious. In the spirit of Edward Abbey, Hunter Thompson, and Joy Williams, Watkins has forged a desert tale of howling pain and a chaotic quest for healing mythic in its summoning of female power in a realm of double-wides, loaded dice, broken glass, and hot springs.”