Houghton Mifflin, February 1991
AJAR Contemporaries, 2011
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 seems 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.
"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."
– Robert Stone, National Book Award winning author of Dog Soldiers
"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."
– Publishers Weekly
"A great, surprising book... The best novel of the year."
– Katherine Powers, Boston Magazine
"Compelling... beautifully realized... shines with power and magic."
– Boston Herald
"Dazzling... thoughtful and elegant... lyrical yet tough-minded... beautifully written, quietly brilliant."
"A wondrous, spiritually rich story... Roland Merullo had created something of beauty... Leaving Losapas will linger in your mind long after you have closed its pages."
– Denver Rocky Mountain News