The Optimistic Decade

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When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it’s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he’s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way, he constructs a new origin story for how the camp–which he calls Llamalo–came to be. In 1990, teenage Rebecca–raised on the strident leftism of her parents and their political newspaper–attends Llamalo, reuniting with a former crush, David, and discovering a genuine affinity for Caleb’s charismatic, ritualistic, back-to-the-land ethos. David himself sees his future as involving permanent residency at Llamalo, with Caleb as a kind of mentor; Caleb, however, has other plans. When old lies come back to haunt Caleb, the very existence of Llamalo is threatened. All those who love it, and who live according to optimistic ideals, must decide how far hope will go in a world that seems hell-bent on injustice.

Rebecca’s father claims everyone gets one “optimistic decade” in which to believe that their efforts to improve the world will make a difference before they accept that those efforts are pointless. Though optimism is crushed brutally in these pages, Abel provides glimmers of hope for Caleb, Rebecca, and the rest–even if it seems that nothing matters, they can still act as if it does; and maybe, by some miracle, it will.


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Author Heather Abel
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 368 pages
Publisher Algonquin Books
Publish Date 2018-May-01
ISBN 9781616206307
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue August 2018
Category Modern Literature
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