Life Span

Published by: WTAW Press
Release Date: June 4, 2024


Impressions of a lifetime spent crossing and recrossing the Golden Gate Bridge.



“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. 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 story-telling above all else.”
– Susane Pari, author of In the Time of Our History and The Fortune Catcher

“Epigrammatic and beautifully authentic, Life Span had me laughing out loud and then sighing at the insights and I didn’t want it to end.”
–Eden Lepucki, author of California and Time’s Mouth


1982: Two o’clock on an April Wednesday and I’m stuck in traffic, late to see Mother who is at UC Hospital once again after yet another amputation. I have been asked to bring her a package of Kents and she will be lying in her private room on the seventh floor, I know, wanting them and getting madder and madder. But what can I do? The commute traffic from Marin has been terrible and now there’s an accident on the bridge. The south lanes are stalled and the north lanes have been closed off. Minutes pass. It’s so still I can feel the span sway and hear the raw creak of the wind through the girders. There’s a Falcon parked to the left of me, a Mustang behind, and right in front of me, an ambulance, with a woman in curlers and a housecoat propped up on a stretcher. The curtains of the ambulance are open and the woman is staring straight at me. I give a small smile to comfort her, but her pale glazed eyes don’t move. My god. Is she dead? She’s dead! I’m stuck in traffic behind a dead woman!