Where There Was Fire
by John Manuel Arias
A lush and atmospheric novel about three generations of a Costa Rican family wrestling with a deadly secret, from rising literary star John Manuel Arias
NATIONAL BESTSELLER * A B&N DISCOVER PICK * A GMA BUZZ PICK * MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2023: CrimeReads, Debutiful, Good Morning America, Library Journal, Zibby Mag, The San Francisco Chronicle, and more!
Costa Rica, 1968. When a lethal fire erupts at the American Fruit Company’s most lucrative banana plantation burning all evidence of a massive cover-up, and her husband disappears, the future of Teresa’s family is changed forever.
Now, twenty-seven years later, Teresa and her daughter Lyra are picking up the pieces. Lyra wants nothing to do with Teresa, but is desperate to find out what happened to her family that fateful night. Teresa, haunted by a missing husband and the bitter ghost of her mother, Amarga, is unable to reconcile the past. What unfolds is a story of a mother and daughter trying to forgive what they do not yet understand, and the mystery at the heart of one family’s rupture.
Brimming with ancestral spirits, omens, and the anthropomorphic forces of nature, John Manuel Arias weaves a brilliant tapestry of love, loss, secrets, and redemption in Where There Was Fire.
After protests break out demanding diversity across the university, Oliver finds himself and his beliefs under fire, even as his past reveals a picture more complicated than it seems. As Ruhaba seems attainable yet not, and as the women of his past taunt his memory, Oliver reacts in ways shocking and devastating.
An explosive, tense, and illuminating work of fiction, The Laughter is a fascinating portrait of privilege, radicalization, class, and modern academia that forces us to confront the assumptions we make, as both readers and as citizens.