In her recent memoir, The Shyster’s Daughter (Etruscan Press; 250 pages), which was excerpted in ZYZZYVA 91, Paula Priamos investigates the death of her lawyer father and paints an unapologetic portrait of her family, with characters both perverse and loving. Priamos peers into the motivations of her family members with a rare and enticing frankness that distinguishes her work from that of other memoirists. Beyond the title, Priamos hints at the type of story she’s about to tell in the first page with a description of her father, who’s phoning her. She can easily imagine him being “somewhere far sleazier” […]
Paula Priamos teaches English and creative writing at California State University, San Bernardino. Her published work includes pieces for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her memoir, The Shyster’s Daughter, will be coming out next spring from Etruscan Press.
An excerpt from The Shyster’s Daughter — titled “In a Car, Far Away From Here” — appears in the Spring 2011 issue of ZYZZYVA. It’s an unsentimental, perhaps even hard-boiled story about a family on the verge of drastic change, seemingly drifting toward danger. Told against the background of Kevin Cooper’s 1983 prison escape, it deftly evokes adolescence dread in Southern California. (The following is a portion of that excerpt.) Paula will be reading with Vanessa Hua at 5 p.m. on May 14 at the ZYZZYVA Spring Celebration at Skylight Books in Los Angeles.