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The Given World - Marian Palaia - <span class="date-display-single">04/28/2015 - 6:30pm</span>

The Given World

04/28/2015 - 6:30pm

Room of One's Own

Marian Palaia's gorgeous new novel has earned praise from the likes of Lorrie Moore, Karen Joy Fowler, Jonis Agee, Suzanne Rindell, and more.  Spanning twenty-five years of cultural upheaval, moving from Montana to San Francisco to Saigon, The Given World is a major debut from a stunningly talented writer about the effects of war on those left at home. 


When Riley and her parents get the news that her big brother is missing in action in Vietnam, it blows a hole in the family bigger than any landmine could. Riley takes refuge in isolation and drugs before falling in love with a boy from the local reservation who tells her of his induction into the Army just as Riley discovers that, at seventeen, she is pregnant. Left behind again, Riley begins a journey that takes her to San Francisco, Saigon, the haunted tunnels of Cu Chi, and finally back to Montana. Along the way, she meets an extraordinary cast of characters—Primo, the big-hearted, half-blind vet; Lu, a cab-driving addict with an artist’s eye; and Grace, a banjo-playing girl on a train carrying her grandmother’s ashes—all are members of a lost generation coming of age too quickly as they struggle to put together lives interrupted by loss.

Marian Palaia

About Presenter Marian Palaia


Marian Palaia was born in Riverside, California, and grew up there and in Washington, DC. She lives in San Francisco and has also lived in Montana, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, and Nepal, where she was a Peace Corps volunteer. She is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she received the 2012 Milofsky Prize. She was a 2012-2013 John Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State University and is a recipient of the Elizabeth George Foundation Fellowship. Her work has been published in The Virginia Quarterly Review and TriQuarterly. Marian has also been a truck driver, a bartender, and a logger.


The Given World

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