*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
The mesmerizing story of a Latin American science fiction writer and the lives her lost manuscript unites decades later in post-Katrina New Orleans
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
When a first novel shows off as much invention and imagination as Michael Zapata’s The Lost Book of Adana Moreau, it feels like we’re looking at the beginning of a great career. Zapata’s fascinating story revolves around a man discovering the lost manuscript of a long-dead science fiction author and his quest to track down her son and deliver it to him—in New Orleans, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The book leaps gracefully between the 1920s, ’30s, and 2000s, weaving together a vast, multigenerational story that flows with the effortless grace of a Stevie Wonder track. Along the way, Zapata weaves in everything from pirates to alternate universes—not to mention spaceship cities! It’s such a complex narrative that it’s almost shocking how well everything hangs together. We can’t wait to read whatever comes next.
In Zapata's stirring debut, a man's efforts to fulfill his grandfather's last wishes leads him into the horror of post-Katrina New Orleans. On the eve of the Great Depression, Dominican expat novelist Adana Moreau finishes then destroys the sequel to her masterwork, Lost City. After her death, Adana's 10 year-old, mixed-race son, Maxwell, is alone and adrift in New Orleans. A generation later in Chicago, Saul Drower discovers an unpublished manuscript in a box that his late grandfather requested be sent to now-renowned physicist Maxwell Moreau. Saul's efforts to locate the elusive academic lead him to New Orleans just as Hurricane Katrina makes landfall. Joined by his childhood friend, Saul dives deep into the flooded city. Zapata expertly jumps between the story of Maxwell 's youth and Saul's attempt to return his manuscript. Histories collide as Saul navigates the storm-battered city in search of Maxwell and the prophetic words of Adana become realized. Zapata expertly blends the drama of the lost manuscript with the on-the-ground chaos and tumult caused by the storm. Digging into themes of regeneration and rejuvenation, Zapata's marriage of speculative and realist styles makes for a harrowing, immersive tale that will appeal to fans of Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones.
Lost Me Halfway Through
Not as good as I thought it would when I started it. Excellent writing that got tiresome, a premise that lost focus, and I suffered through the second half to see where it goes, which is nowhere. Ending was less than spectacular for what the author was writing about. Good effort, almost there, but not quite. I’d pass.