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Powell's Books Presents Karolina Waclawiak in Conversation With Vanessa Veselka
Karolina Waclawiak’s breakout novel, Life Events (Picador), follows Evelyn, who, at 37, 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. Waclawiak will be joined in conversation by Vanessa Veselka, author of The Great Offshore Grounds and Zazen.

Jul 28, 2021 05:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Speakers

Karolina Waclawiak
Karolina Waclawiak is the author of the novels How to Get into the Twin Palms and The Invaders. Formerly an editor at The Believer, she is the executive editor of culture at BuzzFeed News. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Hazlitt, and elsewhere.
Vanessa Veselka
Vanessa Veselka is the author of the novel Zazen, which won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, and The Great Offshore Grounds, longlisted for the National Book Award. Her short stories have appeared in Tin House and ZYZZYVA, and her nonfiction in GQ, The Atlantic, Smithsonian, The Atavist, and was included in Best American Essays and the anthology Bitchfest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism. She has been, at various times, a teenage runaway, a sex worker, a union organizer, a musician, a train hopper, a waitress, and a mother. She lives in Portland, OR.