“The Lost Book of Adana Moreau: A Novel” by Michael Zapata— Epic and Intimate

Zapata, Michael. “The Lost Book of Adana Moreau: A Novel”,  Hanover Square Press; 2020.

Epic and Intimate

Amos Lassen

Having been born and raised in New Orleans, I gravitate toward books written about the Crescent City. Michael Zapata’s “The Lost Book of Adana Moreau” especially drew me in because it is linked to Hurricane Katrina, an event that I witnessed first-hand and survived.

This is a mesmerizing story of a Latin American science fiction writer and the lives her lost manuscript unites decades later in post-Katrina New Orleans

It all begins in 1929 in New Orleans with a Dominican immigrant named Adana Moreau writing a science fiction novel. The novel gets rave reviews, and Adana begins a sequel but then 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 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 get to New Orleans in order to find answers.

This novel is a tribute to home, storytelling and the possibility of parallel worlds. The story moves back and forth between the quest for a man in post-Katrina New Orleans for whom a mystery manuscript was left to be posthumously delivered and the story in the manuscript. We read about friendship, the possibility of parallel worlds, and the way the real and the unreal constantly meet.

Adana Moreau’s long lost novel brings together a fascinating cast of characters with lives that transcend time. Zapata takes us on a journey through history, friendship, family, the extraordinary, the ordinary, and the stars. He gives us a meditation on displacement and exile that cherishes the bonds between people even when those bonds are severed by time and distance. We see something about the persistence of stories and the singular power that books can bring to the fore. The book moves between eras and genres gracefully and with fluidity.
The themes of regeneration and rejuvenation make this a harrowing, immersive tale and it all the more amazing in that this is the author’s first novel.“ Zapata’ writes with lyricism and boldness about grief, loss, and memory.

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