Candelaria By Melissa Lozada-Oliva


A Novel

Categories: ,
ISBN: 9781662601804


Published by (2023-09-19)

"Melissa Lozada-Oliva must be an all-knowing witch - her prose crackles and spits with all the same fire as her poetry. Three cheers for this exquisite, trippy book on family, sisterhood, and magic."
—Bex Frankeberger, Books Are Magic
"I love Melissa's weird brain, I trust her as a storyteller and her innovation keeps me at the edge of my seat. A perfect book for fans of Nightbitch and Patricia Wants to Cuddle."
—Fawzy Taylor, A Room of One's Own

"I never thought I would describe something as One Hundred Years of Solitude meets The Royal Tenenbaums - if both those creators watched Suspiria and Night of the Living Dead back-to-back during a popcorn-heavy slumber party. But then I dove into Candelaria and was met with all my favorite influences, along with the voice of someone entirely beautiful and unique to the genre."
—Sarah Canon, Third Place Books
"On one page there's a disgusting depiction of cannibalism, on the next there's some cultish antics, then two pages later there's some of the most beautiful insight on family, love, and trauma. This book made me look at my own family dynamic with fresh eyes. A must must MUST read."
—Jules Rivera, Books Are Magic
"Like Severance's pandemic zombies, Candelaria gives us a new kind of apocalypse story. Absurd and funny and so vivid that it leaps off the page. I will read anything that comes from the brain of Melissa Lozada-Oliva."
—Emily Sperber, Third Place Books
"Melissa Lozada-Oliva has crafted a new blueprint for the generational family drama, injecting a healthy dose of post-apocalyptic body horror to present the kaleidoscopic shattering and reunification of a family besieged by capitalism, trauma, and a diabolical wellness cult seeking to co-opt their pain as a means of ‘healing’ the world. Equal parts hilarious, horrific, tender, and brutal, Candelaria is possibly one of the most accurate depictions of a neurodivergent spiral I have encountered, imbuing its chaos with endless heart and hope."
—Violet McMaster, Lahaska Bookshop

"It gave me Jennifer's Body meets Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (the movie) meets the Zombie Apocalypse meets my insane video chat with my cousins where everyone is talking over each other but we all still listening to each other. It was a vibe. It was a ride. And I want to do it all over again."
—Rosa Hernandez, Third Place Books

"You have not read a book quite like the one you are currently staring at, I can guarantee it, but do try to prove me wrong. Melissa Lozada-Oliva is a siren–pulling you in with her audacious plot with fertility cults, generational trauma, cannibalism, and the most memorable journey to an Old Country Buffet. Reading Candelaria is an act of metamorphosis and by the end you’ll wonder why you waited at all to read it."
—Quinn Illgen, Changing Hands Bookstore

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A Best Book of 2023 - USA Today,, HipLatina, Largehearted Boy

"With tongue-in-cheek humor and sharp cultural criticism, this novel is an unforgettable exploration of diasporic identity politics and the dangers of wanting to belong at any cost." —Xochitl Gonzalez, The TODAY Show

"Lozada-Oliva's apocalyptic debut novel in prose is an ode to complicated family dynamics, the overwhelming ways love can consume and eat us alive." —Pamela Avila, USA Today

Your granddaughters are lost, Candelaria. Bianca, the brainy archaeologist, had to forfeit her life's work in Guatemala after her advisor seduced and deserted her. Paola, missing for over a decade, resurfaces in Boston as a brainwashed wellness cultist named Zoe. And Candy, the youngest, is a recovering addict who finds herself pregnant by a man she's not even sure ever existed. None of this concerns you of course, until a cataclysmic earthquake hits Boston. Now you must traverse the crumbling city to reach the Watertown Mall Old Country Buffet—for a reason you still cannot disclose—battling strange entities and your own strange past to save your granddaughters and possibly the world.

Author of Dreaming of You Melissa Lozada-Oliva delivers an unsettling, raucous debut novel written with tongue-in-cheek humor and sharp cultural criticism that unearths one troubled family’s legacy, feasting on diasporic identity politics and examining the limits of bodily autonomy and the dangers of wanting to belong at any cost.

A sweeping, mystical novel following three generations of women as they grapple with muddled pasts and predetermined futures, Candelaria is a story of love that eats us alive.

Book Details

Format: Hardcover
Price: 28 USD / 37.99 CAD
Published: 2023-09-19
ISBN: 9781662601804
Page Count: 320
Trim Size: 6 x 9

"Lozada-Oliva’s imagination draws upon an inventive mix of narrative traditions — from melodrama to zombie horror to slacker comedy . . . a soapy, apocalyptic picaresque."—Tracy O'Neill, The New York Times Book Review

"Lozada-Oliva's apocalyptic debut novel in prose is an ode to complicated family dynamics, the overwhelming ways love can consume and eat us alive."
—Pamela Avila, USA Today

"Equal parts poignant, hilarious and horrific, this novel is a macabre feast for the senses—try a taste if you dare. 
—Katherine Ouellette, WBUR

"Bonkers . . . the author's funhouse visions are hard to turn away from."
Publishers Weekly

"Melissa can turn a person into a hero, a cryptid, and someone closer than family in the space of a page. She lives in a world that’s just as flawed and messy and gross as ours, but sees the beautiful, dark magic that the rest of us keep missing — probably because she’s harnessed it so perfectly here. Candelaria is a masterpiece from a writer destined to produce many."
—Jamie Loftus, author of Raw Dog

"Candelaria is a thrilling ride. Melissa Lozada-Oliva captures with deft humor the lives of a matriarch and her brood of daughters and granddaughters as they survive addiction, patriarchy, capitalism, natural disasters, and zombies. Reading Lozada-Oliva's work is like attending a family reunion, one where you hang in the backyard smoking a joint with your favorite cousin. Melissa is a smart, compassionate, and hilarious writer. I will read anything she writes." 
—Alejandro Varela, author of the 2022 National Book Award finalist The Town of Babylon

"Electric from the first page, Lozada-Oliva's story of high-octane family dynamics and transformation is swiftly paced and deliciously vivid. Sparkling with character and dialogue, Candelaria is not only a novel, but a multisensory experience."
—Amanda Montell, author of Cultish and Wordslut

"‘What’s the point of lying at the end of the world?’ In the cataclysms holding the center of her wild and exuberant novel, Melissa Lozada-Oliva shows our willingness to still keep big secrets and hide hard truths, our everyday fears always greater than the chaos of a world on the brink. Candelaria goes for broke and why not? 'Names erode,' we are warned. But good stories? Never."  
—Manuel Muñoz, author of The Consequences

"Melissa takes us on an intense journey about the end of days, showing us that family might be the only thing that will save us, all while throwing in some Stephen King-level horror that’ll make your heart race. This ride's a wild one – and you're gonna wanna be on it."
—Oz Rodriguez, director of Vampires Vs. the Bronx

“Buckle up—Candelaria is a literary ride unlike any other. A wild journey through generational trauma, untold truths, sibling rivalry and intimacy via backroads lined with cinema, cult fitness and the supernatural. Fear not, though the landscape Lozada-Oliva creates is utterly original and chaotic at times, she is a masterful guide whom I would follow anywhere. Heartbreaking, hilarious and absurd in the very best way, Candelaria sticks to your soul and leaves you seeing the world and the people in it a bit differently."
—Xochitl Gonzalez, Pulitzer Prize Finalist and author of Olga Dies Dreaming