Livingston Parish Library discussion

Michael Zapata
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Book Clubs > Bookies: The Lost Book of Adana Moreau

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message 1: by Chiantia (last edited Sep 01, 2020 01:08PM) (new)

Chiantia Sago (csago) | 18 comments Mod
The Lost Book of Adana Moreau by Michael Zapata

Hi, Bookies! Here are this week's discussion questions. I promised three questions, but for a well-rounded discussion, I am posting five.

Please answer at least one question and reply to at least two responses from two different members. You may answer more than one question and respond to more people if you like.


message 2: by Chiantia (last edited Sep 03, 2020 12:56PM) (new)

Chiantia Sago (csago) | 18 comments Mod
Discussion Questions: Week 1, August 28-September 7:

pp. 1- 44, The Dominicana, May 1916 — August 1930
pp. 45 - 99, Vox Humana, December 2004 — August 2005
pp. 100 – 124, The Last Pirate of the New World, September 1930 — July 1933


1. Describe the point-of-view and writing style Michael Zapata uses in his novel. Can we trust the narrator telling the story? How does his writing style contribute to the overall feel of the novel?


2. How does Zapata’s use of historical conditions establish central thematic conflicts in the novel? Which central themes are you able to identify so far?


3. What is the significance of the Dominicana’s process of learning how to read in English?


4. Cite several examples, literal and/or symbolic, of the characters having a sense of ‘unreality”?


5. Why do you think the Dominicana tells her publisher, David Ellison, that she destroyed A Model Earth, the sequel to her first novel? Do you believe her?


message 3: by Lori (new)

Lori Landry | 2 comments 1. The novel is written in the 3rd person. However, because it jumps around in time and place, it is constantly changing. The point of view kind of changes with the character the author is focusing on. It makes the reader kind of change gears.
2. The characters experience hardships based on political events that are happening at the time. Cultural unrest causes the characters to separate from home and family. There is a bitterness about this. Loneliness and uncertainty are themes.
4. The portals are literal examples of unreality.


message 4: by Chiantia (last edited Sep 07, 2020 08:08PM) (new)

Chiantia Sago (csago) | 18 comments Mod
Lori wrote: "1. The novel is written in the 3rd person. However, because it jumps around in time and place, it is constantly changing. The point of view kind of changes with the character the author is focusing..."

Hi Lori!

These are great observations you have made about the point-of-view and the author's writing style! The narrator is, indeed, third-person-omniscient, so the reader can trust the narrator. The reader has access to the thoughts and feelings of all characters. I like how you describe the author's writing style as making the reader 'change gears'. It very much feels like this. How does this influence the story's effectiveness for you?

Michael Zapata's writing-style is limited in dialogue. The narrator spends a lot of time ‘telling’, which makes the novel feel, so far, like an oral tradition of storytelling. It is kind of as if the readers are sitting around a campfire or gathered at the dinner table and listening to someone tell the story as it unfolds. There seems to be a lot of stories within stories.

I agree with your statement about one central theme being separation from home and family. I felt like Zapata uses the US Occupation of Haiti 1915-1930, the Wall Street Crash 1929, and the Mississippi Flood to establish the central theme of exile in the novel. The Dominicana suffers exile after American Marines murder her parents, residents suffer exile because of the Panic and then there is the exile from the climate event of the Mississippi Flood. There is also varying forms of ‘climate’ defined in the novel, which is not limited to only weather conditions, that establishes exile. There is the economic climate brought on by the Wall Street Crash, the fear-driven climate of the New Orleans bankers which drives the unnecessary decision to blow the Caernarvon levees and flood the homes in Plaquemine Parish. Which character's hardship stood out most to you, and what was it? Can you think of a time when you felt like the 'climate' separated you from your home?

The portals are very much a literal example of unreality! Why do you think the Dominicana included portals in her novel, The Lost City? Can you think of any time where it felt like the Dominicana experienced a sense of unreality outside of the novel she had written? In other words, are there any specific instances where the Domincana (or any of the other characters) experience a sense of 'unreality' in real life?

Excellent commentary, Lori! I cannot wait to hear your reply and exchange more ideas with you!


message 5: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 7 comments I am enjoying the book so far. The narrator on the audio is having lots of trouble with our crazy parish and city names.


message 6: by Chiantia (last edited Sep 09, 2020 12:16PM) (new)

Chiantia Sago (csago) | 18 comments Mod
Jennifer wrote: "I am enjoying the book so far. The narrator on the audio is having lots of trouble with our crazy parish and city names."
Hi Jennifer!

I noticed the audiobook narrator having some difficulty as well, haha! Her name is Carol Pena, and I believe she is a bit more fluent in Spanish.

What about the book are you enjoying, so far? At first, I felt like there were a lot of stories within stories, but the more I read, I notice that the stories seem more like they are layered upon one another; almost paralleled to one another.

I am eager to see how the worlds of these very different time periods collide through the manuscript!


message 7: by Chiantia (last edited Sep 11, 2020 09:26AM) (new)

Chiantia Sago (csago) | 18 comments Mod
Week 2, September 8- September 17:
pp. 125-169, Lost City 2005
pp. 170-225, From Vitebsk, July 1933 — October 1933 *Goodreads Discussion Questions posted on September 10th.

1. Because Zapata’s book is a literary fiction novel, he uses an abundance of literary devices. For example, a motif is a literary device that might take the form of a symbol, concept, or image. Whatever form a motif takes, it recurs throughout the novel and helps develop the theme of the narrative. For example, a motif in the form of a train appears 51 times in Zapata’s novel. Trains are an omnipresent motif that symbolize transition, derailment, destruction, and untimely death (mostly violent). So consider the following questions as you read this week's chapters:
A) Can you cite any instances throughout the book where Zapata uses trains to symbolize something else? For clarity, be specific in relation to the characters and scenes, what happens, or what is said.

B) Another motif used in the novel is the ‘labyrinth’. What does it mean when a labyrinth is used as a motif in a story? Can you find a specific instance where a labyrinth was used to symbolize something deeper?

C) What other motifs are you able to identify? Describe their symbolism, and how is it used in the story? (A little help: “memories”, “ghosts”, “shadows”, “parallel universe”, “parallel Earth”, “portal”, “stars”, “light”, etc.)

D) What other literary devices were you able to identify? Please cite the line used as an example.


2. Early on, Maxwell’s father, The Last Pirate of the New World, tells Maxwell that “we are surrounded by dead light, mijo, by the past…but a very useful past… I could still use that dead light to make my way back home.” How is the concept of ‘dead light' being used in the novel?

3. On page 108 (section: “The Last Pirate of the New World”), the pirate, Maxwell’s father, asks the old mad pirate how he had survived the death of his son. The old mad pirate then responds, “nobody ever survived grief,” and in several metaphors he says “grief was an immortal samurai endlessly stabbing himself in the abdomen. He said grief was a sea-green forest in France. He said grief was Odysseus’s dog, Argos, waiting for his master to return, lying in a pile of *dung” (*euphemized). What did the old mad pirate mean? Can you interpret each metaphor? What was he trying to say about grief?

4. Describe Javier and Saul’s friendship. What did Saul finally realize about Javier while they were in New Orleans? How do you think Javier’s job has taken a toll on him and his family?

5. Saul’s grandfather tells him a story about a woman who fights to be recognized as Prussian, even if she is from a place, a home, that no longer exists to people in the outside world anymore. How can her home be considered a parallel universe?

6. What is the significance in the role of all of these stories being told in the novel? How do they connect unreality to reality?


message 8: by Chiantia (new)

Chiantia Sago (csago) | 18 comments Mod
Wow! The ending! I am totally crying!


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