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Praise for Life Events
"Waclawiak writes with emotional precision and explores the tragedy of existence by masterfully walking the line between suffering and hope." --Arianna Rebolini, BuzzFeed
"Life Events is a hypnotic novel that beautifully grapples with fundamental questions about how to die and how to live. Karolina Waclawiak transports the reader into the streets of Los Angeles, the deserts of the southwest, the apartments of the dying, and a woman's life at a moment of profound change. Filled with compelling, provocative details about the work of "exit guides" for terminally ill people, Life Events is both a mid-life bildungsroman and a meditation on self-determination. I can't stop thinking about this novel." --Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State
“In this exquisite novel, Karolina Waclawiak rightfully recasts the American West as the territory of wandering dreams and dreamers and the land where this life and the improbable afterlife most often collide. Life Events is a deeply moving meditation on death and the dying, the fierce weight of marriage and family, and the unrelenting absurdity of being alive.” —Hannah Lillith Assadi, author of Sonora
About Life Events
A woman at a crossroads learns the only way to reclaim her life is to help others die
Karolina Waclawiak’s breakout novel, Life Events, follows Evelyn, who, at thirty-seven, is on the verge of divorce and anxiously dreading the death of everyone she loves. She combats her existential crisis by avoiding her husband and aimlessly driving along the freeways of California looking for an escape—one that eventually comes when she discovers a collective of “exit guides.” Evelyn enrolls in their training course, where she learns to provide companionship and a final exit for terminally ill patients seeking a conscious departure.
She meets Daphne, a dying woman still full of life; Lawrence, an aging porn king; and Daniel, who seems too young to die and whom Evelyn falls for, despite knowing better, not to mention the exit guide code. Each client opens something new in Evelyn, allowing her a chance to access her own grief and confront the self-destructive ways she suppresses her pain. When Evelyn travels through the Southwest to an afterlife convention to further her death education, she must finally face her complicated relationship with her alcoholic father and reconcile her life choices.
Sensitively observed and darkly funny, Life Events is a moving, enlivening story of the human condition: the doldrums of loneliness, the consuming regret of past mistakes, and the thrill, finally, of finding meaning—and love—where you least expect it.
“Every page of this novel is a point of no return; once you’ve read Karolina Waclawiak's Life Events, you will never see life, death, grief, and healing the same way.”—Saeed Jones, author of How We Fight for Our Lives
One of BuzzFeed's Most Anticipated Books of 2020 and one of The Millions Most Anticipated Books of the First Half of 2020
* One of the Best Books of 2012 --Salon
"Waclawiak's novel reinvents the immigration story. How to Get Into the Twin Palms movingly portrays a protagonist intent on both creating and destroying herself, on burning brightly even as she goes up in smoke." --New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice