Leaving Losapas

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Overview

Leaving Losapas begins on a tiny atoll in the equatorial Pacific. Leo Markin, a young US Marine and Vietnam combat veteran who survived the war, found himself so changed by the experience that he simply could not find a way to return to his home, family, and his fiancée in a working class city of his birth outside of Boston. The islanders in Losapas are kind to him-he had been living there for years-and he had found a woman he came to love. Various events conspire to convince him to return to America, but on his ...
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Leaving Losapas

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Overview

Leaving Losapas begins on a tiny atoll in the equatorial Pacific. Leo Markin, a young US Marine and Vietnam combat veteran who survived the war, found himself so changed by the experience that he simply could not find a way to return to his home, family, and his fiancée in a working class city of his birth outside of Boston. The islanders in Losapas are kind to him-he had been living there for years-and he had found a woman he came to love. Various events conspire to convince him to return to America, but on his return home he feels lost. He has troubling encounters with his aging father, finds that his fiancée has married another man and appears trapped in an abusive relationship, and his old friends seem like strangers to him. Leo is torn between the peaceful, natural way of life on the island, and the rougher rules of his upbringing. In the end, though he has sworn to turn his back on physical violence, it is an act of physical violence that convinces him the only place he can live is Losapas. When his father suddenly dies, Leo decides to leave the house he inherits to his former fiancée-thus encouraging her to leave her husband-and he returns to the life he left behind and to his island lover.

Boston Magazine called Leaving Losapas a "great surprising book...the best novel of the year..." and The Rocky Mountain News said "it's a wondrous, spiritually rich story...Merullo has created something of beauty...Leaving Losapas will linger in your mind long after you close its pages."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Leo Markin, the protagonist of Merullo's beautifully realized first novel, is an ex-Marine tortured by his memories of the war in Vietnam. This conflict shook his faith in Catholicism and his trust in the military--which had been another kind of religion for him. It likewise made him question the canons of his Boston childhood--the ideals of Manhood, Family and Patriotism. We find him first very far from Boston on Losapas, a Micronesian island. Here Leo has arrived at peace with men and women who, he says, live so gently with the earth and one another that to speak about sin among them was almost to invent the concept. But then comes an emissary from the bigger world ``back home,'' and Leo is forced to make a choice--what truly is his home? Against his will, he's drawn back to the ethnic Boston suburb where he'd grown up; there he learns that to live in Losapas he had to leave it. The author handles these themes with expert care, and without a trace of mawkishness. Jan.
Library Journal
In this uneven first novel, a Vietnam vet struggles to make peace with his past. Leo Markin leaves the working-class Boston suburb of Averill Beach shortly after high school, joining the Marines and serving in Vietnam. Physically and spiritually wounded by his war experiences, he retreats to the Micronesian island of Losapas rather than go home. Seven years later, the arrival of an American visitor with ties to Averill Beach shatters his illusive tranquility, and he returns there to find his father a broken man, his hometown in decline. Against a backdrop of ethnic and class rivalries, Markin discovers who he is and where he ultimately belongs. Patches of awkward writing and a somewhat melodramatic conclusion occasionally diminish the power of a strong theme, but the novel is notable for its vivid depiction of two very different locales.-- Lawrence Rungren, Bedford Free P.L., Mass.
Publishers Weekly
"Merullo's beautifully realized first novel focuses on an ex-Marine, tortured by his memories of Vietnam, who must choose between his adopted Micronesian island home of Losapas and the Boston suburb where he grew up….What truly is his home?... The author handles these themes with expert care, and without a trace of mawkishness.”
Robert Stone
“Leaving Losapas is a great achievement. Its language is poetic and psychologically precise, and its characters thoroughly imagined and complex. Merullo is a writer of great talent... His first novel is surely the debut of the year.”
Boston Herald
“Compelling...beautifully realized...shines with power and magic.”
Boston Magazine
“A great, surprising book... The best novel of the year.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Dazzling... thoughtful and elegant... lyrical yet tough-minded... beautifully written, quietly brilliant.“
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780983313960
  • Publisher: PFP Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Roland Merullo is the author of twelve books, including In Revere, In Those Days, a Booklist Editors’ Choice, and Breakfast with Buddha, nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Lit-erary Award. His new novel, The Talk-Funny Girl will be published in summer 2011. He lives in western Massachusetts with his wife and two daughters.
For more information, visit www.rolandmerullo.com
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