Review: The Lost Book of Adana Moreau

Synopsis

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.


Review

When I first picked up this book I thought it was going to be about an adventure where a young man searches for his grandmother’s missing book. Surely when it opened up with The Last Black Pirate of the New World and love across parallel universes I thought I knew which direction this book was going. I was captivated by the story line and mesmerized by Zapata’s writing. But I was oh so wrong.

This is not just a book about a book. It is not a mere journey for a long lost treasure. The Lost Book of Adana Moreau looks at our response to disaster. Hurricane Katrina. The Russian Revolution. The US Occupation of the Dominican Republic. The Great Depression.
Moreover, the book examines displacement from different angles. Displacement of people from a natural disaster. Displacement by imperialism. Displacement from religious persecution. How do nations respond to catastrophe and how does this affect the everyday man.

What Zapata has effectively done here in The Lost Book of Adana Moreau by drawing these men together on this quest is unite exiles across time and space. The exiled are people of different hues, religions, cultures experiencing the same types of loss, displacement and yearning. Although history has taught us that the victors get to tell the story Zapata reminds us that literature holds “the memories of the memories of the memories.” Here in lies the voice of the people.

Special thanks to NetGalley, Hanover Square Press and Michael Zapata for access to this wonderful work.

About the Author

Michael Zapata is the author of The Lost Book of Adana Moreau. He is a founding editor of the award-winning MAKE Literary Magazine. He is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for Fiction; the City of Chicago DCASE Individual Artist Program award; and a Pushcart Nomination. As an educator, he taught literature and writing in high schools servicing drop out students. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa and has lived in New Orleans, Italy, and Ecuador. He currently lives in Chicago with his family.

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