Congratulations to Rebecca Entel, whose debut novel FINGERPRINTS OF PREVIOUS OWNERS publishes today from Unnamed Press! This is a soulful and timely novel exploring family histories and community divides, in the vein of Nicole Dennis-Benn’s ‘Here Comes the Sun’ and Monique Roffey’s ‘The White Woman on the Green Bicycle.’
At a Caribbean resort built atop a former slave plantation, Myrna works as a maid by day; by night she trespasses on the resort’s overgrown inland property, secretly excavating the plantation ruins the locals refuse to acknowledge. Myrna’s mother has stopped speaking and her friends are focused on surviving the present, but Myrna is drawn to Cruffey Island’s violent past. With the arrival of Mrs. Manion, a wealthy African-American, also comes new information about the history of the slave-owner’s estate and tensions finally erupt between the resort and the local island community. Suffused with the sun-drenched beauty of the Caribbean, FINGERPRINTS OF PREVIOUS OWNERS is a powerful novel of hope and recovery in the wake of devastating trauma. In her soulful and timely debut, Entel explores what it means to colonize and be colonized, to trespass and be trespassed upon, to be wounded and to heal.
Rebecca Entel began this novel while teaching on San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. She is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Cornell College, where she teaches African-American and Caribbean literature and directs the Center for the Literary Arts. She holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. Her short stories have been published in Guernica, Joyland Magazine, The Madison Review, and elsewhere, and several have been shortlisted for awards from Glimmer Train, Southwest Review, and the Manchester Fiction Prize.
Praise for Fingerprints of Previous Owners
Rebecca Entel writes with spellbinding intelligence and a deep knowledge of the human heart. Her writing is true and exquisite, serious and fun.”—Lorrie Moore
This is the first novel by Entel … and it is a magnificent one. Here’s hoping that Entel follows her first novel with many more.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
[A] delicately crafted debut … Entel’s writing explores historical memory, race relations, economic imperialism, and family dynamics through the detailed world of Cruffey Island.”—Booklist
Fingerprints of Previous Owners is a memorable debut. Through the force of her sure storytelling and graceful prose, Rebecca Entel makes the unseen visible, and the unspoken past powerfully present.”—Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, author of Ms. Hempel Chronicles and Madeleine Is Sleeping
Audacious, heartfelt and realistic, I found myself immersed in the perverted paradise of this island world, rooting for the characters I came to care so much about.”—Maxine Case, author of All We Have Left Unsaid
And don’t miss Rebecca’s upcoming events:
June 15th: Reading at Room of One’s Own Bookstore, Madison, WI
June 19th: Reading at Loganberry Books, Cleveland, OH
June 22nd: In conversation with Christine Sneed at City Lit Books, Chicago, IL
June 28th: Reading at Prairie Lights, Iowa City, IA