The mysterious death of her father and the strong Greek influences of her youth comprise the center of a new book by Paula Priamos, adjunct faculty in Cal State San Bernardino’s English department.
“The Shyster’s Daughter” is Priamos’s first book, a memoir noir largely cut from the complex relationship she had with her father, a defense attorney, and from growing up Greek in Southern California.
Priamos will read from her book at Barnes & Noble in Redlands on Saturday, Aug. 4, at 5 p.m. CSUSB assistant professor and poet Chad Sweeney also will read from his book, “Parable of Hide and Seek, The Art of Stepping through Time.”
Priamos’s life is steeped in Greek culture. Her parents married in a Greek church in Los Angeles and baptized her into the Greek Orthodox Church. It was during Christmas, she recalls, that her yiayia taught her the fine art of layering baklava. And for Priamos, Greek dancing at parties was a common sight.
Growing up, it happened that criminality was a common sight for Priamos as well. She saw her share of courtrooms and criminal behavior as a young girl, and men her father defended often would call the Priamos home collect from jail.
Priamos’s father called her the night before he died — telling her that he’d “just cheated death.” The strangeness of the call never left her.
“Writing the memoir was my way of making sense out of what happened,” Priamos told the Greek Reporter in a recent interview about her new book. “Yet it also became an investigation into his entire career as a criminal defense attorney.”
She uncovered surprising truths about her father and people he knew. Personal threats. Cover-ups. Stolen money. A suicide. The discoveries mounted. Her investigations made it a hard story for her to tell.
A reviewer in the Los Angeles Times Magazine called Priamos’s book “big-hearted” for its wide open discussion of love and loss and the way she tells a story. The O.C. Weekly said the book was “something evoking Nathaneal West or Joan Didion.”
Paula Priamos’s work has appeared in such publications as The New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle.
She also has a blog, “Paula Priamos, Opinionated Writer … ”
For more information, contact the Cal State San Bernardino Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.