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ISBN: 979-8-9877197-6-3


Publication date: June 4, 2024


Life Span: Impressions of a Lifetime Spent Crossing and Recrossing the Golden Gate Bridge, a memoir in flash form, is the first book of nonfiction from award-winning fiction author Molly Giles, and a rare pleasure for her admirers—old and new. Giles distills her experiences of crossing the Golden Gate Bridge since that first sunny day in 1945 when she rode from San Francisco to Sausalito in a moving van with her father who had just returned home from fighting in World War II. Readers travel with her, as every transit yields an insight, an expectation, a regret, or a challenge in the life of a woman whose steadfast love of writing fuels her way. In this story of a woman with brains and desires, Giles details her journey as a writer, narrating the complexities of ambition, hope, betrayal, love, and wild joys. Smart, buoyant, and funny, not least at her own expense, Life Span is for everyone who loves good writing and cares about the perseverance of a woman who dares follow her heart’s ambition.


“Molly Giles‘s memoir Life Span is a must-read for fans of her fiction, and will no doubt garner her many new readers. Often shockingly truthful and characteristically wry, Giles provides connected vignettes of her relationships with her parents, lovers, husbands, children, and grandchildren, a life span of reflections on her desire for and disappointments in many forms of love. But one abiding love sustains her and drives her forward—her writing. And it is her intuitions about storytelling that enable her to weave together recognition of what is indeed true and deeply felt.”

—Amy Tan


“Until now, Molly Giles has been known for her wry and profound fiction. With this memoir, she has turned her gimlet eye on herself and her own life, and the result is a reader's delight. Epigrammatic and beautifully authentic, Life Span had me laughing out loud and then sighing at its insights, and I didn't want it to end. With this svelte book, Giles manages to conjure an entire life, offering snapshots of California in the last eighty decades, and showing how the creative life is ignited, and then by turns fostered and obstructed, by forces more powerful than ourselves. I loved this book.”

—Edan Lepucki, New York Times Bestselling author of California and Time’s Mouth


“Molly Giles’s Life Span is a clear-eyed, deeply evocative portrayal of a writer’s life in the Bay Area and beyond. The glimpses over the decades—of girlhood, of motherhood, and more—are by turns heartbreaking and hilarious. In her determination and compassion, Giles inspires. A bittersweet and beautiful memoir.”

—Vanessa Hua, author of Forbidden City


“Wit and wisdom are ablaze on the pages of Molly Giles’s revelatory memoir, Life Span. In tightly rendered prose, she turns her sharp eye inward and examines, without mercy or reserve, her life as daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, and most of all, writer. What results is an unabashedly warm and deeply self-aware memoir that values love and family, and storytelling above all else.”

—Susanne Pari, author of In the Time of Our History and The Fortune Catcher


“What is a life? It's an accumulation of stories, moments that linger and haunt and needle. Molly Giles captures those moments to tell her life story. Life as a quilt, a collage, full of human connections and disconnections, told with sharp dialogue, impeccable timing, and a biting humor that is so distinctive it deserves its own adjective: Gilesian. Molly Giles can't be copied, though, as the best writers can't. She must be read, over and over again.”

—Grant Faulkner, author of The Art of Brevity: Crafting the Very Short Story

Life Span by Molly Giles Ebook

  • Molly Giles is an award-winning fiction writer. Her first collection of stories, Rough Translations won the Flannery O’Connor Prize for Short Fiction, the Boston Globe Award, and the Bay Area Book Reviewers award. Four subsequent collections—Creek Walk, Bothered, All the Wrong Places, and Wife With Knife, have also won awards, including the Small Press Best Fiction Award, the California Commonwealth Silver Medal for Fiction, the Spokane Short Fiction Award, and the Leapfrog Press Global Fiction Prize.  She published her first novel, Iron Shoes, in 2000, and twenty-three years later, published its sequel, The Home for Unwed Husbands. Giles has taught fiction writing at San Francisco State University, University of Hawaii, San Jose State University, the National University of Ireland at Galway, the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and at numerous writing conferences, including The Community of Writers and Naropa. Her work has been included in many anthologies including the O.Henry and Pushcart Prize (three times), and she has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Arkansas Arts Council. She has won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Book Reviewing, been awarded residences at MacDowell, Yadoo, and The House of Literature in Paros, Greece. She was born in San Francisco and is a lifelong resident of the Bay Area.

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