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Karen Palmer

Karen Palmer is the author of the novels Border Dogs (Soho, 2002) and All Saints (Soho, 1997). She has received an NEA Fellowship and a Pushcart Prize, and her writing has appeared in the Kenyon Review, Five Points, the Rumpus, and the Manifest-Station. “The Reader Is the Protagonist” is excerpted from a memoir-in-progress.


Illustration by Thomas Allen

The Reader Is the Protagonist

Spring 2016 | Memoir

The summer of 1989, shortly after my second husband and I married, we buckled my two daughters, who were seven and three, into the rear seat of a used car purchased for cash. We told no one where we were going. We meant to disappear.