In Riverine one is reminded of Mary Karr. . . . One also thinks, when reading Palm, of Annie Dillard. . . . There is volumetric power here. Sizable intrigue in the sentences. Bold declarations that (as all memoir must) destabilize the reader and paralyze easy judgment on both the life lived and the words chosen. Angela Palm has left the river and returned to it. Angela Palm has arrived.
— Chicago Tribune
An attempt to discover, finally, the healing power of home.
Few American writers are attentive enough to class and its determinative power. Palm is one of them, her book filled with sharp analysis of the relationship between place, social status, and ethos. . . . Riverine is a strong first book.
— Christian Science Monitor
Like Truman Capote’s classic “In Cold Blood,” Ms. Palm’s book takes place in the rural Midwest, in a town where violence strikes like heat lightning and with as much advanced warning. More than that, though, it captures a more basic aspect of small-town life: Denuded of the white noise of the big city, people’s lives play out in excruciatingly naked detail. One rises (the author) and one falls (Corey) in full view. 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.
— David J. Morris, Wall Street Journal
Riverine is lyrical, surprising, and evocative, and one of the year’s most powerful memoirs.
— Largehearted Boy
Palm perfectly dissects the myth-building and meaning-making involved in childhood thinking, not ignoring but instead highlighting the mundane artifacts of life and their power to shape the mind...As non-fiction requires, Palm shows her flaws unabashedly. This is a person you want to know, or maybe you feel like you come to know her, to love her even...that person who has interrogated the earth for its patterns and the heart for its ability to remember, she tells the most satisfying story of unrequited love that I’ve ever encountered. Love and a river that also rises and falls, robs and renews.
— Liz Lampman, Hazel & Wren
Palm emerges from these pages as someone who holds on firmly to the first boy she ever fell in love with, someone who forges a new life for herself while never forgetting where she comes from. There’s a flickering beauty to her stubbornness, like the reflection of late afternoon sun in a river. . . . Reading this tale, we can all remember lost loves and ponder the might-have-beens.
— Washington Post
[Palm’s] lyrical prose swims intelligently through reflection and memory. Her childhood is rendered with gorgeous sharpness, “Where hologram children play forever and eat electric blue Popsicles and never wash their hands and sometimes spear fish with arrows.” Like the Kankakee, her memoir’s narrative route is drawn back to the farmland of braided essays. By laying bare the most intimate traverses of her own mind, Palm guides us towards empathy, asking readers to consider the depths of our compassion.
— Karissa Womack, Brevity Magazine

An Apple iBook Best Book

Reading Angela Palm’s startlingly original memoir is like talking with a smart, quirky friend whose free associations and academic digressions, while sometimes baffling, always make you think...Written as a series of narrative essays peppered with eclectic references to Joan Didion and Tupac Shakur, Riverine is an honest exploration of exile and belonging, destruction and growth.
— Apple iBooks
A powerful memoir about origins, familial ties and the inevitable shock when life’s trajectory takes an unexpected turn.
— Malibu Magazine
Moving meditations on how memories continue to affect one’s ever-changing personality, however far away we may move.
— Booklist
Combining lyrical prose with a haunting narrative, Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize–winner Palm recounts a story filled with secret longings, family history, and musings on what might have been. . . . This is a memoir to linger over, savor and study.
— Publishers Weekly
Haunting. . . . Densely symbolic, unsentimental, and eloquent, Palm’s book explores the connections between yearning, desire, and homecoming with subtlety and lucidity. The result is a narrative that maps the complex relationships that exist between individual identity and place. An intelligent, evocative, and richly textured memoir.
— Kirkus Reviews
Palm’s memoir is lifeline and letter to the parallel universes we so often wish for. Hers is a raw but wistful voice that embraces the imperfection of language as a reflection of the impossible question of what it means to be true to one’s self.
— Minneapolis Star Tribune
Palm’s prose takes the form of water. She flows through a history of family and environment that could’ve so easily been washed away and forgotten had she not been diligent in remembering and telling. Too dope.
— Yahdon Israel, LitHub
[Palm’s thoughts in Riverine are] well-put, often worth stopping and mulling over.
— Newsday
I could not put down “Riverine” by Angela Palm, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t read many memoirs...This book is excellent, and the writing is exquisite.
— Hunter Gillum, Cityview Fall Books Guide
Palm’s writing is easy to read, compelling and draws the reader in with its momentum. Riverine is about self-determination, the origin of deviance, and places, particularly the liminal ones. . . . Palm’s story is yet unfinished, but her memoir has an admirable structure and art of its own.
— Julia Jenkins, Shelf Awareness
Endlessly searching for ways to understand the world around her, Palm by turns reaches for and rejects [metaphor] for bringing clarification to her life. By struggling against her own tendencies to impose arbitrary meaning while still searching for and locating that meaning, she does the hard work of essaying. As such Riverine stands as a bold reckoning with not only an individual’s past and present but with the very apparatus of truth-making itself.
— The Millions
While her first two sections, Water and Fields, emphasize how tied we are to our physical environment and origin and feature clinical, analytical analysis, Mountains argues for our ultimate detachment and uses dreamier, more poetic language. Palm notes the significance of her location while acknowledging that the environment exists entirely separately from her entanglements and associations with it. “The trees are not poems, never have been, do not contain poems, never have contained them,” Palm writes. Although this sentiment would seem discouraging and averse to the purpose of a writers retreat, Palm revels in the freedom of experiencing objects not through their associations, but as themselves in their raw and pure form.
— Liz von Klemperer, Electric Literature
[Palm’s] writing is strong, quiet, and richly observed.
— Washington Independent Review of Books