The Lost Book of Adana Moreau

Hanover Square: Harlequin. Feb. 2020. 272p. ISBN 9781335010124. $26.99. F
DEBUT In this labyrinthine debut novel about story’s power to traverse time and space, the sf-loving Saul Drower hopes to fulfill his grandfather’s dying wish—return a massive manuscript to Maxwell Moreau. But when the envelope is returned unopened, he embarks on a rabbit-hole journey with his investigative reporter best friend that takes them to the stricken post-Katrina New Orleans. Along the way, Saul uncovers his own family’s secrets. Zapata unfolds the mystery of the manuscript’s origins, and readers will be mesmerized by the unraveling of how the protagonists’ lives interconnect. The author develops each of the characters with nuance—from Dominican immigrant Adana Moreau, the book’s author; to her husband, the Last Pirate in the world; and to their son Max, an astrophysicist bent on proving the existence of the multiverse. The story-within-a-story structure might lose some, especially as the sections alternate through the decade. However, patient readers will be rewarded with an illuminating work on trauma and the transience of human existence. Echoes of authors from the Latin American Boom movement and traces of H.G. Wells combine to create a fascinating send up to science fiction.
VERDICT A heady literary and genre-bending novel for fans of Jorge Luis Borges, Carlos Fuentes, and Adolfo Bioy Caseres.
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