Marisha Pessl

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Marisha Pessl
Bornc. 1977/1978 (age 40–41)
Alma materBarnard College
GenreLiterary fiction

Marisha Pessl (born c. 1977/1978)[1] is an American writer known for her imaginative novels Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Night Film, and Neverworld Wake.

Life and career[edit]

Pessl was born near Detroit, Michigan, to Klaus, an Austrian engineer for General Motors, and Anne, an American homemaker. Pessl's parents divorced when she was three, and she moved to Asheville, North Carolina with her mother and sister. Pessl had an intellectually stimulating upbringing, recalling that her mother read "a fair chunk of the Western canon out loud" to her and her sister before bed, and entered her in lessons for riding, painting, jazz, and French.[1] Pessl started high school at the Asheville School, a private, co-educational boarding school, but graduated from Asheville High School in 1995. She attended Northwestern University for two years before transferring to Barnard College.[2]

After graduating, she worked as a financial consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, while writing in her free time. After two failed attempts at novels,[3] Pessl began writing a third novel in 2001 about the relationship between a daughter and her controlling, charismatic father.[1] Pessl completed the novel, titled Special Topics in Calamity Physics, in 2004 and it was published in 2006 by Viking Penguin to "almost universally positive" reviews, translated into thirty languages, and eventually becoming a New York Times Best Seller.[1]

Pessl's second novel, Night Film, a psychological literary thriller about a New York investigative journalist looking into the apparent suicide of a renowned filmmaker's daughter, was published by Random House on August 20, 2013. It was ranked sixth on The New York Times Bestseller’s list following its release[4].

Pessl's third novel, Neverworld Wake was released on June 5, 2018. It is described as a "psychological suspense novel with a sci-fi twist."[5]

Pessl married Nic Caiano, a hedge fund manager, in 2003; they divorced in 2009.[6] She married neurosurgeon Dr. David Gordon on 28 February 2015;[7] they have two children – Winter Guinevere Gordon, born 10 July 2015,[8] and Avalon Blue Gordon, born 24 January 2017[9]



  • Special Topics in Calamity Physics Penguin, 2006, ISBN 9781101218808
    • Die alltägliche Physik des Unglücks: Roman, translated by Adelheid Zöfel, Fischer E-Books, 2013, ISBN 9783104029887
    • Fördjupade studier i katastroffysik, translated by Eva Johansson, Natur & Kultur, 2007, ISBN 9789127114364
    • La Physique des catastrophes, translated by Laetitia Devaux, Gallimard, 2007, 614 p., ISBN 9782070776207
    • Calamiteitenleer voor gevorderden, translated by Otto Biersma and Paul Bruijn, Ambo|Anthos uitgevers, Amsterdam, 2006, ISBN 9789041414397
  • Night Film: A Novel Random House, 2013, ISBN 9780307368225


  1. ^ a b c d Smith, Dinitia (August 21, 2006). "With Marisha Pessl, You Can't Judge a Book by the Photo on the Cover". The New York Times. Retrieved June 15, 2007.
  2. ^ Gould, Emily (September 2006). "An interview with Marisha Pessl". Bookslut. Retrieved June 15, 2007.
  3. ^ Kennedy, Mark (November 5, 2006). "Don't hate Pessl because she's..." Deseret Morning News. Retrieved June 15, 2007.
  4. ^ "Best Sellers: Hardcover Fiction". The New York Times. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  5. ^ "Marisha Pessl on Twitter". Twitter. 19 June 2017.
  6. ^ Johnson, Richard (August 18, 2009). "Most Eligible". New York Post. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  7. ^ "@marishapessl". Instagram. 1 March 2015.
  8. ^ "@marishapessl". Instagram. 12 July 2015.
  9. ^ "@marishapessl". Instagram. 26 January 2017.

External links[edit]