The Lost Book of Adana Moreau
by Michael Zapata
Pub Date 04 Feb 2020
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In 1929 in New Orleans, a Dominican immigrant named Adana Moreau writes a science fiction novel titled Lost City. It is a strange and beautiful novel, set in a near future where a sixteen-year-old Dominican girl, not all that unlike Adana herself, searches for a golden eternal city believed to exist somewhere on a parallel Earth. Lost City earns a modest but enthusiastic readership, and Adana begins a sequel. Then she falls gravely ill. Just before she dies, she and her son, Maxwell, destroy 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 package containing a manuscript titled A Model Earth, written by none other than Adana Moreau.
Who was Adana Moreau? How did Saul’s grandfather, a Jewish immigrant born on a steamship to parents fleeing the aftershocks of the Russian Revolution, come across this unpublished, lost manuscript? Where is Adana Moreau’s mysterious son, Maxwell, a theoretical physicist, and why did Saul’s grandfather send him the manuscript as his final act in life? With the help of his friend Javier, Saul tracks down an address for Maxwell in New Orleans, which is caught at that moment in the grip of Hurricane Katrina. Unable to reach Maxwell, Saul and Javier head south through the heartland of America toward that storm-ravaged city in search of answers.
Blending the high-stakes mystery of The Shadow of the Wind, the science fiction echoes of Exit West, and the lyrical signatures of Bolaño and Márquez, Michael Zapata’s debut shines a breathtaking new light on the experiences of displacement and exile that define our nation. The Lost Book of Adana Moreau is a brilliantly layered masterpiece that announces the arrival of a bold new literary talent.
“The Lost Book of Adana Moreau is a profound novel about the persistence of stories and the singular power that books can conjure. Zapata is a luminous writer—a rule-breaker in the best way, and a storyteller who weaves between eras and genres with fluidity and grace. I loved every page of this bold debut.”—Matthew Sullivan, author of Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
"Zapata is a thrilling new talent. Alternating between the quest for a man in post-Katrina New Orleans for whom a mystery manuscript was left to be posthumously delivered, and the tale the manuscript itself tells, The Lost Book of Adana Moreau is an ambitious novel that probes for friendship, the possibility of parallel worlds, and the way the real and the unreal meet at every moment."—Ingrid Rojas Contreras, author of Fruit of the Drunken Tree
"This bold, inventive debut moves through the twentieth century like a cyclone. The Lost Book of Adana Moreau opens with American Marines in Santo Domingo, tears on through New Orleans and reaches a roaring end in the Atacama Desert of Chile. Michael Zapata writes as skillfully of rebellion as he does of joy and every page of The Lost Book of Adana Moreau comes alive."—Idra Novey, author of Ways to Disappear and Those Who Knew
"Spellbinding and sage, The Lost Book of Adana Moreau is a beautifully imagined saga. Adana Moreau's long lost novel unites a fascinating cast of characters with a hypnotic pull, weaving together their lives and transcending time. Michael Zapata steers us on a journey through history, friendship, family, the extraordinary, the ordinary, and even the stars. The Lost Book of Adana Moreau is a rich and philosophically poignant homage to the metaphysical magic of storytelling."—Kira Jane Buxton, author of Hollow Kingdom
"The Lost Book of Adana Moreau is a hypnotic, whirling meditation on displacement and exile. This is a novel that cherishes the bonds between people even when those bonds are seemingly severed by time and distance. Zapata is a brilliant new voice who controls impermanence, asymmetry, and possibility like a classical composer with perfect pitch."—Maurice Ruffin, author of We Cast a Shadow