Often taking the form of walkabouts or road trips to places both familiar and forgotten, Vadi’s writing impressively charts his own family’s story while also offering a larger examination of what we think we know about California, a state that’s been endlessly mythologized but rarely explored with such searing passion and genuine depth. Vadi vacillates between reverence and rage in writing of his grandfather in the collection’s titular essay, as he details the ongoing plight of migrant farm workers. Presented as a blend of travelogue and historical commentary, the result is an enlightening, if tragic, rumination on how we choose to memorialize the past.
Positive Nathan Deuel, Los Angeles Times
What distinguishes this tentative newcomer on the West Coast essayist scene? For one, a fresh approach: Vadi’s deepest purpose is to understand and retrace the footsteps of his abuelo, who picked vegetables up and down the Central Valley. He layers this important quest with a tart mixture of originality and devotion, as well as his own lens as an avid urban skateboarder. And finally, Inter State deserves attention for the way it pits Southern California against the Bay—which is always fun.
Rave Publishers Weekly
Part love letter, part indictment, this moving debut essay collection from Vadi captures the changing landscape of California.
At a line level, the book is outstanding, filled with long, breathless sentences, innovative syntax, and precise diction. Vadi’s talent shines in his descriptions of characters like his beloved but abused father or when he is raging against economic and social injustices.