The Cemetery of Untold Stories: A Novel (Hardcover)

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The Cemetery of Untold Stories: A Novel (Hardcover)

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“Alvarez’s beautiful new novel synthesizes her familiar themes: storytelling, sisters, family differences, the violent legacy of the Dominican Republic, the allure of ‘home’, and of ‘up North’, and the craft of writing itself.”
— Melanie Fleishman, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI

Staff Reviews


This utterly transporting novel will sweep you away into a whirlwind of stories.  When an author decides to physically bury her unfinished manuscripts, she creates a park, a cemetery of stories.  But the tales won't stay buried, and they intermingle with her own family history and the stories of some of the local people who work there in the Dominican Republic.  This book has a wonderful sense of place, and it speaks volumes to the way that stories affect us as human beings.  Just wonderful!

— From Bill recommends

Great American novelist Julia Alvarez, bestselling author of In the Time of the Butterflies and How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, returns with a luminescent novel about storytelling that reads like an instant classic.

“Only an alchemist as wise and sure as Alvarez could swirl the elements of folklore and the flavor of magical realism around her modern prose and make it all sing . . . Lively, joyous . . . often witty, occasionally somber and elegiac.” —Luis Alberto Urrea, The New York Times Book Review


"Engaging and written in a playful, crystal-clear prose, this novel explores friendship, love, sisterhood, living between cultures, and how people can be haunted by the things they don’t finish . . . Entertaining . . . Heartwarming." —Gabino Iglesias, The Boston Globe

**Named a Most Anticipated Book by the New York TimesWashington Post, Today.com, Goodreads, B&N ReadsLiterary Hub, HipLatinaBookPage, BBC.com, Zibby Mag, and more**


Alma Cruz, the celebrated writer at the heart of The Cemetery of Untold Stories, doesn’t want to end up like her friend, a novelist who fought so long and hard to finish a book that it threatened her sanity. So when Alma inherits a small plot of land in the Dominican Republic, her homeland, she has the beautiful idea of turning it into a place to bury her untold stories—literally. She creates a graveyard for the manuscript drafts and the characters whose lives she tried and failed to bring to life and who still haunt her.

 
Alma wants her characters to rest in peace. But they have other ideas and soon begin to defy their author: they talk back to her and talk to one another behind her back, rewriting and revising themselves. Filomena, a local woman hired as the groundskeeper, becomes a sympathetic listener to the secret tales unspooled by Alma's characters. Among them, Bienvenida, dictator Rafael Trujillo's abandoned wife who was erased from the official history, and Manuel Cruz, a doctor who fought in the Dominican underground and escaped to the United States.
 
The Cemetery of Untold Stories asks: Whose stories get to be told, and whose buried? Finally, Alma finds the meaning she and her characters yearn for in the everlasting vitality of stories. Julia Alvarez reminds us that the stories of our lives are never truly finished, even at the end.

Julia Alvarez left the Dominican Republic for the United States in 1960 at the age of ten. She is the author of six novels, three books of nonfiction, three collections of poetry, and eleven books for children and young adults. She has taught and mentored writers in schools and communities across America and, until her retirement in 2016, was a writer in residence at Middlebury College. Her work has garnered wide recognition, including a Latina Leader Award in Literature from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, the Woman of the Year by Latina magazine, and inclusion in the New York Public Library’s program “The Hand of the Poet: Original Manuscripts by 100 Masters, from John Donne to Julia Alvarez.” In the Time of the Butterflies, with over one million copies in print, was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for its national Big Read program, and in 2013 President Obama awarded Alvarez the National Medal of Arts in recognition of her extraordinary storytelling.
Product Details ISBN: 9781643753843
ISBN-10: 1643753843
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2024
Pages: 256
Language: English
Named a Most Anticipated Book of the Year by the New York Times, Washington Post, Today.com, Goodreads, Literary Hub, BookPage, BBC.com, and Zibby Mag!

"Only an alchemist as wise and sure as Alvarez could swirl the elements of folklore and the flavor of magical realism around her modern prose and make it all sing... Lively, joyous... often witty, occasionally somber and elegiac."—Alberto Urrea, New York Times Book Review

“Engaging and written in a playful, crystal-clear prose, this novel explores friendship, love, sisterhood, living between cultures, and how people can be haunted by the things they don’t finish. A literary pioneer known for breaking ground in terms of centering the experiences of Latinx women and writing bilingually, Alvarez does so again here. ...entertaining... At the end, one message remains: Alvarez has seen it all as an author, but her love for telling stories remains as big as ever. Heartwarming.”—Gabino Igelsias, The Boston Globe

"The Cemetery of Untold Stories by Julia Alvarez glows with life. What emerges is a rich story of Dominican history, full of lush prose and quick wit, of love and loss, that Alvarez skillfully weaves back to Alma’s story in the present. Stories, it seems, find a way to get themselves told. Let’s hope Alvarez has more to tell."—Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times

“In this imaginative new novel from critically acclaimed literary icon Julia Alvarez, untold stories are buried in a graveyard and laid to rest … until the characters decide to revolt.”—Today.com

“Mystifying, compelling, and often wryly funny… Julia Alvarez delivers a lyrical, thought-provoking meditation on truth, complicated family narratives, and the question of whose stories get told.”—Shelf Awareness

“Only an alchemist as wise and sure as Alvarez could swirl the elements of folklore and the flavor of magical realism around her modern prose and make it all sing... lively, joyous, full of modern details and old tall tales… often witty, occasionally somber and elegiac”—Luis Alberto Urrea, The New York Times Book Review

“Mystical and moving, The Cemetery of Untold Stories shows why some stories must be told no matter how hard you try to bury them.”—TIME.com

“A rich and moving saga of Dominican history emerges, embodied in the lives of irresistible characters… Her gifts for glowing prose and powerful narrative are still strong. Buried stories find their way to the light in this finely crafted novel.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Uplifting… Throughout, Alvarez seamlessly melds magical realism with heartfelt character portraits. This brims with the intoxicating power of storytelling.”—Publishers Weekly

"Alvarez brings the magic again in this nesting box of a novel. These tales… are linked in surprising ways, most especially in a humanity that transcends pathos and passion. May Alvarez continue to excavate stories for many years to come!"—Booklist (starred review)

“This new novel from the legendary author of In the Time of Butterflies is about a writer who decides to literally bury all her unfinished stories in a plot of inherited land. But the words still speak to her, even from beyond their grave.”​—Book Riot

“Julia Alvarez's The Cemetery of Untold Stories is a really innovative and unique tale about a writer who literally tries to bury her draft manuscripts but fails to stop them coming to life.”—BBC.com

“Like How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, Alvarez’s pathbreaking novel from 1991, her new book explores sisterhood, immigration and return, and family secrets.”—Washington Post

“A powerful and lyrical allegory about an older artist haunted by her own creativity. Alvarez has a wonderful way of being both lyrical and precisely concrete at the same time. Magical and multifaceted, this meditation on creativity, culture and aging is a triumph.”—Carole V. Bell, BookPage (Starred Review)

“A spellbinding, unforgettable ride for readers... This multi-layered, rich novel about storytelling and the stories we tell ourselves to cope with life’s many struggles is a feat the acclaimed Alvarez has rightfully mastered.”—DominicanWriters.com

“A captivating premise.”

“Julia Alvarez enchants with a supernatural story… . [Her] seventh novel, The Cemetery of Untold Stories, beautifully illuminates the experience of an artist’s twilight years. …simply genius. Her writing is infused with lyricism and metaphor, but it’s also engrossing and accessible.” —BookPage

“Julia Alvarez’s novels have stunned us for years and her newest is no exception.”—B&N Reads

“Dominican-American novelist Julia Alvarez has occasionally flirted with magical realism throughout her career—but in The Cemetery of Untold Stories she takes it to Gabriel García Márquez levels, and the result is sublime... Always a master of atmosphere, Alvarez has created a mysterious yet fully realized setting for a story that examines how we create our stories—and how they inevitably intertwine.”—Apple

“Julia Alvarez has been one of the most successful and acclaimed Latina writers since the 1990s… In a brilliant fusion of the personal and the political, Alvarez’s characters are haunted by both their own memories and the lingering memory of Trujillo’s regime.”—Bustle

“Julia Alvarez's thought-provoking and powerful The Cemetery of Untold Stories is a balancing act of the everyday and the magical, a blend of history and cuento. Through imperfect characters longing for love and fighting against el olvido, we are reminded that each of us is capable of terrible cruelty or incredible compassion, and that stories have the power to bring us together.”
 —Jaquira Díaz, author of Ordinary Girls

“The Cemetery of Untold Stories asks us to consider if our tales will last forever or if they might one day be forever lost. Yet there is nothing to fear or lament in this reality—not when we are soothed by the balm of Alvarez’s tender wit and her large-hearted candor. What a blessing to have one of our finest writers assure us that indeed ‘we are in this story together.”
 —Manuel Muñoz, author of The Consequences

“Julia Alvarez delivers yet another glorious novel, this time about a very unique kind of love—the love of storytelling. Scheherazade-like, Alvarez keeps us hooked with surprising plot twists and revelations, and characters so captivating that we want to get lost in the corridors of their tales. Simply stated, this book is magical.”
 —Rigoberto González, director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing, Rutgers University, and author of To the Boy Who Was Night: Poems Selected and New

“What a love letter not only to storytelling, but also to the tender, urgent, funny, heartbreaking reasons we tell stories in the first place. This cemetery is a fertile field of rebirth, reawakening, and joy. Every page overflows with delight and wisdom.”
 —Stacey D’Erasmo, author of The Complicities

“A magical new novel focused on storytelling itself.”—Literary Hub

“Read it if: You like your fantasy stories with a literary-fiction twist”—Fangirlish.com