Fingerprints of Previous Owners


Product Details

$16.00  $14.88
Unnamed Press
Publish Date
5.4 X 0.7 X 8.4 inches | 0.65 pounds
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About the Author

Rebecca Entel began this novel while teaching on San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. She is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Cornell College, where she teaches African-American and Caribbean literature and directs the Center for the Literary Arts. She holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.

Her short stories have been published in Guernica, Joyland Magazine, The Madison Review, and elsewhere, and several have been shortlisted for awards from Glimmer Train, Southwest Review, and the Manchester Fiction Prize. Fingerprints of Previous Owners is her first novel.


"Rebecca Entel writes with spellbinding intelligence and a deep knowledge of the human heart. Her writing is true and exquisite, serious and fun." --Lorrie Moore
"Fingerprints of Previous Owners simmers with implicit and explicit violence, with social and economic injustices, the dichotomy of a hotel so crassly extravagant that it throws away good food daily while locals brew tea from wild leaves or eat whatever the poor soil can grow. Beautifully written, it is bleak, stark; as uncompromising as the island's soil and as wrenching as the haulback shrubs that guard its secrets. Audacious, heartfelt and realistic, I found myself immersed in the perverted paradise of this island world, rooting for the characters I came to care so much about." --Maxine Case
"This is the first novel by Entel, and it is a magnificent one. Her prose is lyrical, luminous, and each detail has been planted as precisely as a foundation stone." --Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Entel's delicately crafted debut explores the relationships between the resort, an economic center that distorts the island's history for its own purposes, and the local people and the ways the past infuses the present, no matter how hard one tries to forget. Entel gives Myrna a distinctive voice and creates a rich history for the island and its residents." -Booklist
"How drastically different perspectives can simultaneously coexist is the foundation for Entel's debut novel, Fingerprints of Previous Owners." --The Cedar Rapids Gazette
"This richly imagined work from a Cornell College professor of African American and Caribbean literature features a maid at a Caribbean resort built atop a former slave plantation. By night, she digs around, discovering artifacts that unearth the island's past while speaking loudly to its increasingly tense present. 'Beautifully descriptive.'" --Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
"Entel's novel is brilliant. Through a series of strategic narrative choices, she both inhabits and interrogates the island she created, demonstrating how fiction can expand a reader's empathy and, even, a writer's authority." --Elizabeth Mosier, Cleaver Magazine
"One of the most notable debut novels I've read this year is Rebecca Entel's. Fingerprints of Previous Owners tells the tale of a maid who by day works for a Caribbean resort built on the grounds of a slave plantation, by night she searches for artifacts to unlock the island's tragic past. It's a quiet novel, but breathtakingly beautiful." --Rachel Léon, Chicago Review of Books