The Lost Book of Adana Moreau (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Michael Zapata’s debut is one spectacular, swirling, sci-fi scented literary wonder, a love letter to storytelling, heritage, and theoretical physics. Reeling back and forth through time, we escape the US occupation of Santa Domingo to New Orleans during prohibition and flee the Russian Revolution’s aftermath from Petrograd to Belarus to Chicago, and later, from Tel Aviv to Chicago to a seat in a black Cadillac next to a reporter friend carrying stories from protests in Argentina, on back to New Orleans in the days just after the storm. And there’s so much more - it's some sort of magic trick how much of the world and the last 100+ years is fit into these pages, and Zapata manages to connect it all across decades and lives. The novel’s construction (and it’s as much constructed as written, hubs of narrative and ideas Tinkertoy’d together) maybe cribs a bit of Pynchon-esque theoretical obsession, but there’s also a literary heritage of coming sideways at the emotional heft of history, and on top of that, you get the linguistic play of storytelling you might find in Borges and César Aira. One of the real joys of this novel is how obviously in love with language Zapata must be. It’s a stunner, a book of survival, aftermaths, and the history that we inherit and pass on, telling and retelling the stories that create the world.

— Chris Lee

The Lost Book of Adana Moreau is a mesmerizing and stirring novel. In the late 1920s, New Orleans, Adana Moreau has written a science fiction novel unlike any other. On her deathbed she confesses to destroying the sequel, depriving the world of the chance to ever read it. In the early 2000s, Chicago, with the passing of Saul Drower's grandfather, Saul discovers a manuscript written by Adana Moreau. Determined to fulfill his grandfather's last wish, Saul embarks on a journey to find Adana Moreau's son, Maxwell, and deliver the long lost manuscript. I really enjoyed the many layers of this novel. With captivating characters and the stories they tell, Michael Zapata gives us a passionate love letter to storytelling and the joys of science fiction. At the heart of this novel is the refugee - and we are all refugees here. An enlightening read for sure!

— Jen Steele

A little bit of sci-fi, a little bit of history, and a lot of love for stories is what makes The Lost Book of Adana Moreau a truly amazing novel. Zapata weaves a tale of intertwining lives, from New Orleans to Argentina to Israel to Russia and back, all centered around the people that brought Adana Moreau’s words to life. The narrative follows Maxwell Moreau, the son of a Dominican refugee and extremely talented science fiction writer in 1930s New Orleans, and Saul Dower, a driftless young man in Chicago in 2004 who suddenly finds himself in possession of said writer’s lost manuscript. As Saul races against a hurricane to deliver the book home, Maxwell struggles to find his father and meaning in a world without his mother. Zapata skillfully bounces back and forth between the stories of these two men and everyone they come in contact with, showcasing a wide variety of refugees and people, without making the narrative overwhelming and confusing. He pays tribute to science fiction and quantum physics by touching on the vast amounts of universes found right in front of us; everyone has a story to tell, everyone is a parallel universe unto themselves, and history is only relative to those that still remember.

— Margaret Kennedy


*Winner of the Chicago Review of Books Award for Fiction*

A Heartland Booksellers Award Nominee

An NPR Best Book of the Year

A BookPage Best Book of the Year

A Library Journal Best Winter/Spring Debut of 2020

A Most Anticipated Book of 2020 from the Boston Globe and The Millions

A Best Book of February 2020 at Salon, The Millions, LitHub and Vol 1. Brooklyn

"A stunner--equal parts epic and intimate, thrilling and elegiac."--Laura Van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel

"Smart and heart-piercing...a story of displacement, erasure, identity, mythology, and the ability of literature to simultaneously express and transcend our lives."

In 1929 in New Orleans, a Dominican immigrant named Adana Moreau writes a science fiction novel. The novel earns rave reviews, and Adana begins a sequel. Then she falls gravely ill. Just before she dies, she destroys the only copy of the manuscript.

Decades later in Chicago, Saul Drower is cleaning out his dead grandfather's home when he discovers a mysterious manuscript written by none other than Adana Moreau. With the help of his friend Javier, Saul tracks down an address for Adana's son in New Orleans, but as Hurricane Katrina strikes, they must head to the storm-ravaged city for answers. What results is a brilliantly layered masterpiece--an ode to home, storytelling and the possibility of parallel worlds.

"Hypnotizing." --New York Times Book Review

"Deftly conjured...thematically vital." --Washington Post

Product Details
ISBN: 9781335147356
ISBN-10: 1335147357
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Publication Date: July 6th, 2021
Pages: 304
Language: English