Home BooksNew Book Releases Melissa Lozada-Oliva Releases “Candelaria”: A Sweeping Tale of Identity and Belonging

Melissa Lozada-Oliva Releases “Candelaria”: A Sweeping Tale of Identity and Belonging

by Jonathan Currinn
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In a literary world brimming with talent, Melissa Lozada-Oliva has captivated readers with her debut masterpiece, “Candelaria”. The acclaimed author, known for “Dreaming of You” (a novel in verse) and “peluda” (poetry) takes us on a mesmerising journey through three generations of women in this mystical debut novel.

“Candelaria”, Lozada-Oliva’s first official novel, is now available via e-book worldwide and in hardback at booksellers across the US, and it seems to be nothing short of a literary triumph. After reading the blurb we realised that this enchanting narrative delves deep into the lives of three remarkable women as they navigate complex pasts and seemingly predetermined futures.

The blurb introduces yourself as “Candelaria” who has three granddaughters who are lost.

Bianca, the brainy archaeologist, faces a devastating setback in Guatemala, forcing her to relinquish her life’s work after a betrayal by her advisor. Paola, who vanished for over a decade, reemerges in Boston, entangled in the clutches of a wellness cult under the alias Zoe. Meanwhile, Candy, the youngest of the trio, is on a path to recovery from addiction, her life upended by an unexpected pregnancy with a man she can barely remember.

The story takes a dramatic turn when a cataclysmic earthquake rocks Boston, setting the stage for a riveting adventure. Readers follow Candelaria, embarking on a perilous journey through the city’s crumbling streets, towards Watertown Mall Old Country Buffet for reasons held closely by Candelaria herself.

Watch the video the author dropped about the release of her book here:

Throughout the narrative, Lozada-Oliva’s signature wit and sharp cultural critique shine through, according to a press release; and, diving deeper, we learn that she fearlessly delves into some profound themes.

She takes a courageous look at the complex issues surrounding how people from diverse cultural backgrounds understand and navigate their identities, particularly when living far from their places of origin. This exploration also extends to the idea of personal freedom, emphasizing how much control individuals have over their own bodies and life choices.

Furthermore, Lozada-Oliva examines the risks associated with an unwavering desire to fit in or be part of a particular group, even when doing so comes at a high personal cost. In essence, she’s shedding light on the potential dangers of going to great lengths to belong, regardless of the sacrifices that might be involved.

In simpler terms, the author is addressing questions like, “Who am I in a world where my culture is different from the one I live in?” and “How much control do I have over my own life choices?” She also warns us about the consequences of trying too hard to fit in, even if it means giving up essential parts of who we are.

Melissa Lozada-Oliva, hailing from both Guatemalan and Colombian heritage from her parents, is no stranger to the limelight. Her previous works have garnered attention from NPR, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, PAPER, and even Armani Beauty. She is also a multifaceted artist, doubling as a member of the band Meli and the Specs. With an MFA in poetry from NYU and a residence in the bustling heart of New York City, Lozada-Oliva’s creative energy knows no bounds.

“Candelaria” seems to promise readers a narrative that seises the heart and soul. It seems to be a poignant tale of love that consumes us, compelling us to question the essence of identity and the lengths to which we’ll go to find our place in the world.

We’re pretty sure we’ll be getting our own copy of this brand-new book, which recently hit e-book stores worldwide, published by Astra House. It is also available to buy in hardback edition in the US. It’s a bit of a wait for the physical release in the UK, though, with the hardback expected to be dropped on January 9, 2024 – we’re sure it’ll be worth the wait.

Follow Melissa Lozada-Oliva on social media here:

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