A Memoir from Anywhere but Here
- “In Riverine, Ms. Palm lucidly sets out to divine how two fates can bifurcate. The result is that rarest of things: a book that lays bare the lives that are lived and not lived.”—The Wall Street Journal
Angela Palm grew up in a place not marked on the map, in a house set on the banks of a river that had been straightened to make way for farmland. Every year, the Kankakee River in rural Indiana flooded and returned to its old course while the residents sandbagged their homes against the rising water. From her bedroom window, Palm watched the neighbor boy and loved him in secret, imagining a life with him even as she longed for a future that held more than a job at the neighborhood bar. For Palm, caught in this landscape of flood and drought, escape was a continually receding hope.
Though she did escape, as an adult Palm finds herself drawn back, like the river, to her origins. But this means more than just recalling vibrant, complicated memories of the place that shaped her, or trying to understand the family that raised her. It means visiting the prison where the boy she loved is serving a life sentence for a brutal murder. It means trying to chart, through the mesmerizing, interconnected essays of Riverine, what happens when a single event forces the path of her life off course.
Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, spellbinding essays on place, young love, and a life-altering crime
- “Palm emerges from these pages as someone who . . . forges a new life for herself while never forgetting where she comes from.”—Washington Post
- “[Riverine contains] volumetric power. . . . [s]izable intrigue. . . . [b]old declarations. . . . Angela Palm has left the river and returned to it. Angela Palm has arrived.”—Chicago Tribune
- “[A] perceptive memoir.”—Oprah.com, Powerful Memoirs by Powerful Women
- “An incredibly personal and eloquent book. . . . Palm's memoir is lifeline and letter to the parallel universes we so often wish for.”—Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
The Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize is funded in part by endowed gifts from the Arsham Ohanessian Charitable Remainder Unitrust and the Ruth Easton Fund of the Edelstein Family Foundation.