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Caveworld: A Novel (e-book) - Pioneers Press

Caveworld: A Novel (e-book)

Adam Gnade

  • $ 1300

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This is the e-book version, for the paperback edition go here.

Adam Gnade's second novel, Caveworld, is a howl of desperation as its characters fight to find love and meaning in a society with which they feel out of step. Richly encyclopedic and set in the twin border towns of Tijuana and San Diego, the book tells two love stories separated by a gulf of twenty years. Caveworld is made up of the various events (both subtle and seismic) that change lives in an instant. 

Gnade covers a lot of ground: sex and pervasive loneliness in teenage bedrooms, life-shaping horror in the Vietnam jungle, birth, school, work, marriage, depression, crime, murder, mood-flushed road trips crossing the continent, exile (whether on Mexican rooftop or country estate), and living rooms smoky with the sad and oft-times devastating absurdity of "sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll." Equally influenced by Joan Didion's West Coast storytelling, Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County, and James Joyce's early examinations of place, Gnade's Caveworld is an epic, sprawling saga of American life.

Cover artwork by Joshua Krause.

Recommended for fans of: Roberto Bolaño, Juliet Escoria, Ernest Hemingway, Conor Oberst, Jessie Duke, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Read a review below: 

Caveworld: A Novel | Pioneers Press 

"I’ll try to make this quick but I know that it won’t be.

"I woke up to an email this morning reminding me of Christmas Day this past year, which was a day, that for the most part, wasn’t fun. I sat huddled, fully dressed under large blankets with my cat on my lap, trying my best to not think about the past where I’d spent the entire day with my family, stumbling around in matching pajamas by a fire. In the very real reality, it was minus -30, the power had been off for days at this point, and I was reading Caveworld.

"Adam Gnade’s follow up to Hymn California (which is pretty magnificent as well) is a crawling beast, taking readers from a particular corner of America outwards and beyond borders in the literal, but primarily in the figurative sense.

"From a structural point of view, and speaking mostly technically, the book is just a lot of fun to read. With interwoven stories and a web-like connection of interpersonal interactions and developments, it’s an example of one of those great ones that reminds you why TV or a movie will never quite be able to accomplish what a good novel can—feeling those connections between characters and the world in a way just looking at them rarely inspires. I hate comparing someone’s work across time, but (I have to, even if partially to respond to a past review of Hymn California by a person who clearly doesn’t get it), but as a novelist, in this book Gnade really flexes in the classical sense, clicking together prose that’s clever and fluid and fun, and at the same time bone dour and sobering and draping it over a solid plot skeleton. There’s love, there’s fear, and lots of other good stuff but those are the most important.

"There’s a lot to talk about in terms of themes and the feels of this title, and without a copy next to me as I’m punching this into my stupid phone, I’m remiss to try and explain it to you completely—what I can say, is that in my pretty extensive experience of reading I’ve yet to come across a title that makes you remember what it’s like to feel young and both completely prepared and unprepared at the same time. Sections of this book make me remember what it’s like to fall in love in a freewheeling, terrifying way, with a person and with the world and with your own life, even if on the surface it’s not the one you think you should love. The word I see most in conjunction with Caveworld is ‘expansive’ and while it’s definitely that, I also found it to be insulating and brought me back to the elements of my community, my basement show and ripped jeans subculture, the laughing danger of an out of control house party, all that stuff that makes you remember what it felt like to grow up, and at once keeping you grounded in the fact that you and everything else may not realize it when you get there, if you do. This novel made me want to call my friends.

"Whew. Am I selling it? I’m not trying to sell it, I guess I’m just trying to explain. Why bother explaining all that stuff about the weather? At the time, I thought I loved this book, at least in part because reading I felt drenched in California sun and street noises and food (the descriptions of food in this book are amazing, enough to make you want to sink all your savings into a food truck and create the menu in chronological order) , and I think that’s definitely a factor, but not the only thing. The real reason I love this book is because it’s so good that it captures the complexities and innate beauty of life and does it through a lens that anyone between the ages of fifteen and fifty can’t help but relate to, and that sitting there, despite freezing my ass off to all fuck on Christmas day in the dark, it made me smile and whoop out loud.

"Just don’t be silly and go read this book. I mailed a copy to a friend a few days ago. I’ve ordered a few from the great people at Pioneers Press (who you should support in any way possible) to give to people I care about. I keep a copy of this book in my car because when it comes time for me to run away, or go for a long drive to nowhere in particular I want to make sure I have it with me. When something becomes part of your emergency bag, I don’t know what else you can say about it." -Chris, Good Reads