Origins of the Universe and What It All Means: A Memoir


Product Details

$26.95  $25.06
Dzanc Books
Publish Date
5.8 X 1.0 X 8.4 inches | 1.0 pounds
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About the Author

Carole Firstman is an essayist, memoirist and journalist. Her writing has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers and literary journals including Colorado Review, South Dakota Review, Watershed Review, Defunct Magazine, Reed Magazine, Man in the Moon: Essays on Fathers and Fatherhood, Lifestyle Magazine, Baja Life, Valley Response, and The Valley Voice.

She received a Pushcart Prize Special Mention and her work has twice been noted in Best American Essays. Her forthcoming book, Origins of the Universe and What It All Means: A Memoir, is about the complications of familial relationships. She teaches at College of the Sequoias and California State University, Fresno and lives in Visalia, CA.


"[Firstman's] genre-bending memoir explores parent-child relationships, evolution and life as we know it."

"Firstman's characterization of family dynamics is pitch-perfect: her own impatience and frustrations with her father balance his foibles and thoughtlessness--and her humor softens the lot. This is a very endearing book, a summer read for the curious mind."
--The Paris Review

"This reflective memoir examines an odd and estranged father through the lens of his scientific expertise."
--Shelf Awareness

"Firstman is ready to give the raw emotions surrounding her relationships with her parents narrative form, utilizing storytelling, science, and the quirks of a 1970s upbringing to make sense of a childhood less than ordinary."
--River Teeth

"[A] unique debut [that] easily stands out among memoirs because it is as much about considering the world around us as it is about one very interesting father-daughter relationship."

"It turns out that the search for the origins of the universe can be a risky deal. We don't always like what we find. Carole Firstman, with grace and elegance and wildness and terror, pushes into that essential mystery and emerges with compassion for what still haunts us--a scorpion, a letter, a father--as well a glimmer of insight, or at least acceptance, into why we do the things we do."
--Nick Flynn, author of My Feelings and Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

"Firstman takes her reader into the uncertain liminal spaces of her life and relationships, and as with the best memoir writing, often exposes in the process the reader's own unexplored emotional territory." --Steven Church, author of One with the Tiger: On Savagery and Intimacy

"Firstman takes us deep into the human heart [...] her clear-eyed and sympathetic writing transcends science to engage the elusive complexity of truth, the means and ends of human experience."
--John Hales, author of Shooting Polaris: A Personal Survey in the American West

"A saddening but ultimately redeeming memoir."
--Kirkus Reviews