The Volcano Daughters: A Novel (Hardcover)

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A searingly original debut about two sisters and their flight from genocide—which takes them from Hollywood to Paris to San Francisco’s Cannery Row—each haunted along the way by the ghosts of their murdered friends, who are not yet done telling their stories

El Salvador, 1923. Graciela, a young girl growing up on a volcano in a community of Indigenous women, is summoned to the capital, where she is claimed as an oracle for a rising dictator. There she meets Consuelo, the sister she has never known, who was stolen from their home before Graciela was born. The two spend years under the cruel El Gran Pendejo’s regime, unwillingly helping his reign of terror, until genocide strikes the community from which they hail. Each believing the other to be dead, they escape, fleeing across the globe, reinventing themselves until fate ultimately brings them back together in the most unlikely of ways…
            Endlessly surprising, vividly imaginative, bursting with lush life, The Volcano Daughters charts a new history and mythology of El Salvador, fiercely bringing forth voices that have been calling out for generations.

About the Author

GINA MARÍA BALIBRERA earned an MFA in Prose from the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers' Program. She’s been awarded grants from Aspen Words, Tin House, the Rackham Foundation, and the Periplus Collective, as well as a Tyson Award, the Aura Estrada Prize, and the Under the Volcano Sandra Cisneros Fellowship.

Praise For…

Most Anticipated Book of the Year from Vulture, Seattle Times, and Electric Literature

“A new heir to the magical-realism throne.”
Seattle Times

“A bilingual, mythological, and original debut about resistance and survival.”

“A gripping and spellbinding novel about a sisterhood ripped apart by violence, narrated by a ghostly chorus. An unforgettable debut.”
Brit Bennett, author of The Vanishing Half

“This novel is astonishing: layered, lush, lyrical, and marvelously transporting. Gina María Balibrera has woven a gorgeous and painful tapestry, rich with history, memory, and the troubling voices of the dead who will not be silenced. The Volcano Daughters is a dazzling accomplishment.”
Kirstin Valdez Quade, author of The Five Wounds

“Gina María Balibrera is a tremendous new talent. The Volcano Daughters is a towering achievement at the intersection of ancient myth, political history, and vibrant storytelling. A fierce and pulsating novel, this book will capture your heart and enrich your mind.”
Kali Fajardo-Anstine, bestselling author of Woman of Light and Sabrina & Corina

“Every character comes vibrantly to life in The Volcano Daughters. Every scene surprises with unexpected tremors of questions about the legacy of political violence, how social upheaval shapes sibling dynamics and haunts the psyches of children for the rest of their lives. Gina María Balibrera is a writer of tremendous imagination who draws on her knowledge of two languages to craft a first novel unlike any other I've read.”
—Idra Novey, author of Take What You Need

“A haunting (and haunted) debut, The Volcano Daughters is a dark marvel of a book, at once lush and stark, mythic and earthy. Balibrera's fusion of history and legend, puts me in mind of a young Isabel Allende.”
Peter Ho Davies, author of A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself

“My mind and heart were blown open by Gina María Balibrera’s astonishing debut. The Volcano Daughters is a work of fierce ambition and blazing emotion, narrated by an unforgettable chorus of ghosts who trace the story of their friends, sisters Graciela and Consuelo, through a journey that spans continents and generations. As the chorus says: ‘The word makes the world,’ and with this novel, her first, Balibrera has done nothing less. Her invocation of the voices of a group of women whose lives were distorted and cut short by El Salvador’s violent dictator El Gran Pendejo left me breathless—and is one of the most powerful stories of motherhood, sisterhood, and survival I’ve ever read. A colossal achievement.”
Julie Buntin, author of Marlena

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593317235
ISBN-10: 0593317238
Publisher: Pantheon
Publication Date: August 20th, 2024
Pages: 368
Language: English