Published by
Europa Editions (2015-04-07)
Current material
MS: Final Edited
Original language
Historical adventure fiction


by Acevedo, Chantel

The Distant Marvels is a literary historical novel. María Sirena’s front row seat in history gives us an unconventional glimpse into the battles and “reconcentration” camps of the Spanish American war from a civilian woman’s perspective. Wartime Cuba is evoked through María Sirena's unique perspective, in chapters that move back and forth in time, from the tumultuous days of war to the hurricane-lashed mansion where the women shelter.

The Distant Marvels’ haunting heroine María Sirena came of age in Cuba at the end of the 19th century, during the final years of the Spanish American War. Bound to her parents, Cuban rebels in the center of the devastating fight for independence from Spain, María Sirena was witness to unspeakable brutalities. Shortly after the war’s end, María Sirena, now a young single mother, made a terrible mistake, one she could not speak of again, or forgive in herself. Many years later, when María Sirena is living out her last days in 1960’s era Cuba, a hurricane makes landfall on the island. Thrust together with other women seeking shelter, the storm stirs up her memories of the war, and of the secret that María Sirena has kept all her life—that she unwittingly sold her son in a desperate moment. Fearing that all she knows will be lost once she dies, María Sirena tells an unflinching tale of war and loss, and, in doing so, comes to understand the power of love to heal even the most haunted hearts.

Hailing from Miami, but born to Cuban immigrant parents, Acevedo delivers here a tour de force. Her prose, strong and intimate at once, completely succeeds in transporting the readers to a foreign time and place. You will feel with and for María Sirena to the point of her seeming like a long-lost relative after you finish the novel.

Chantel Acevedo was born in Miami to Cuban parents. She is the author of A Falling Star (Carolina Wren Press, 2014), winner of the Doris Bakwin Award; and, Love and Ghost Letters (St. Martins, 2006), winner of the Latino International Book Award. She is currently an Associate Professor of English at Auburn University, Alabama, where she founded the Auburn Writers Conference and edits the Southern Humanities Review.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Ronit Zafran

Available View on Rightsdesk


The Distant Marvels" is a compelling, gorgeously-written epic about Cuban women as fierce as the storms and the hardships they endure. Every scene, every detail, every utterance and intimacy feels richly, enchantingly true.

Quote: Cristina Garcia

Italy: edizionie e/o

Quote: client

In Distant Marvels Chantel Acevedo exquisitely renders the history of Cuba's valiant struggles for independence. It is a Thousand and One Nights surrender to the true art of storytelling.

Quote: Ana Castillo

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