The Wonder That Was Ours


Product Details

$26.95  $24.79
Dzanc Books
Publish Date
5.8 X 1.2 X 8.4 inches | 1.05 pounds
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About the Author

A former academic historian, Alice Hatcher turned her attention from footnotes to fiction several years ago. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Beloit Fiction Journal, Notre Dame Review, Lascaux Review, Fourth Genre, Contrary, Chautauqua, and Gargoyle, among other journals. Her debut novel, The Wonder That Was Ours, won Dzanc Books' 2017 Prize for Fiction. Hatcher lives in Tucson, AZ. Her work can be found at


Center for Fiction First Novel Prize - Longlist

"A Greek chorus of cockroaches amuses and admonishes in this admirable first novel about the human cost of colonialism....Sharp-witted, well-read, and with a long view of history, their voice is dignified, erudite, and often funny. "
--Kirkus Reviews

"An inventive depiction of colonialism and chaos." --Publishers Weekly

"Alice Hatcher's rollicking and visionary first novel The Wonder That Was Ours, winner of the Dzanc Prize for Fiction, is the story of 'the week everything burned.' ... Although hilarity abounds, Hatcher's take on colonialism, racial and class divides is timely, and powerfully imagined."
--Lit Hub

"Who better to tell a revelatory tale of human fallibility than perhaps the most maligned creatures on Earth? Though their story may be tragic, Alice Hatcher's cockroaches are witty, companionable, and irresistibly charming storytellers. I will be recommending this sumptuous and deeply empathic novel to all my reader friends."
- Michelle Ross, author of There's So Much They Haven't Told You

"Hatcher's choice to narrate The Wonder That Was Ours from the perspective of cockroaches feels audacious at first, then necessary, then strangely warm and touching. Her novel explores issues of alienation, injustice, and consoling friendship in truly original and unexpected ways, with cleverness and great heart. The Wonder That Was Ours reveals prejudices we didn't know we had and helps us expand our notions of love, empathy, and redemption through a story that seems both traditional and utterly new."
--Mark Beauregard, author of The Whale: A Love Story

"Hatcher's unique narrators offer a bird's-eye view of history, with all the glory and devastation that entails: an ambitious experiment that ends in an achingly compassionate achievement. This book is funny, warm, and piercingly intelligent--and it will probably break your heart."
- Adrienne Celt, author of Invitation to a Bonfire and The Daughters

"Don't let the omniscient cockroach narrators scare you. Put down the Roach Out! Listen to the bugs. As the passengers on an off-shore cruise ship fall to a pestilential sickness, the island nation of St. Anne and its people suffer a series of cataclysms. The Wonder That Was Ours is both funny and grim, jaunty and horrifying. The cockroaches lead a master class on the ravages of colonialism. They preach something of survival, too, and occasionally even hope."
-Daniel A. Hoyt, author of This Book Is Not For You
"What an unexpected pleasure this book was! By the end of this book I was in love and in awe: not only had the author pulled off this unusual conceit, but she'd used it to build a truly moving and revealing story. The Wonder That Was Ours is a thoughtful, fresh take on empathy, isolation, fear, and the legacies of colonialism. Professor Cleave, Dave, Helen, Tremor, and, yes, the cockroaches will remain in your hearts and your minds for a long time after finishing this book."
-Chrissy Kolaya, author of Charmed Particles
"Through chiseled prose, potent imagery, and a cast of narrators who operate as a hat tip to Kafka, Alice Hatcher's comitragic cautionary tale about race and class is impossible to forget. Part farce and part lament, The Wonder That Was Ours reminds us how 'so much depends upon perspective.'"
-Lindsey Drager, author of The Lost Daughter Collective