Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Lost Book of Adana Moreau

Title:  The Lost Book of Adana Moreau
Author:  Michael Zapata
Publication Information:  Hanover Square Press. 2020. 272 pages.
ISBN:  1335010122 / 978-1335010124

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "His father was a pirate."

Favorite Quote:  "...literature was a memory of a memory of a memory."

I love books about books. The premise of an undiscovered manuscript is even better. The cover adds a mystery and movement. The post-hurricane Katrina New Orleans adds a setting full of life, struggle, emotion, and the triumph of human spirit.

I so wanted to love this book. I did so love the beginning portion of the book. The story of the pirate, the little boy, and a mother writing stories in the 1920s captured me entirely. It is an emotional and fanciful tale, and I want to know more.

Then, the story turns and jumps decades. I follow along. A grandfather passes away. A grandson is attempting to tie up the loose ends of his grandfather's legacy. An undeliverable package sends on a chase to find the history and the intended recipient. The journey brings him to a town struggling to survive and recover after a disaster. The idea is not as fanciful as the beginning, but nevertheless has the making of a powerful story. I want to follow along.

The main setting becomes New Orleans, a fascinating city at any time filled with its own folklore and culture. It should add to the magical feel of the book. The timing in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina adds a disaster the likes of which this generation had never witnesses. Both the destruction and the resilience of the city were remarkable and powerful images. I want to see how the the magic of the city, the story, and the reality of the hurricane balance.

The manuscript at the heart of this tale is a science fiction story. That genre adds another element entirely to the narrative. The book description references the possibility of parallel worlds, and that seems to lend itself to the science fiction genre. Again, I want to know more.

The issue is that I get lost. The book introduces many characters and vignettes telling their stories. The book jumps locations and timelines. The book includes many references, some of which I know and some are more obscure. I don't know to research a reference if I don't at least have an inkling that it is a reference.

So, unfortunately, this reading experience becomes frustrating. I want to love this book, but I find myself walking away from it again and again. It has all the elements of a story I would have loved, but perhaps I was simply not the right reader for it. "... maybe the world would be better if it adapted to the whims of the children rather than the other way around. If streets, she said, followed the patterns and logic of children then there would never be such a thing as getting lost, there would be a certain madness, yes, but it would be a lovely madness, one capable of multiple dimensions." Perhaps, I was simply not the reader capable of following the dimensions of this story.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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