Freedom Is a Feast

Coming Soon


By Alejandro Puyana

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$39.00 CAD

In the tradition of Isabel Allende’s career-launching debut, The House of the Spirits, a multigenerational, Latin American saga of love and revolution in which a rebel who commits a youthful betrayal receives a late-life chance at redemption and a new life: “a tour de force” from “the new master” (Luis Alberto Urrea, New York Times bestselling author of Good Night, Irene).

In 1964, Stanislavo, a zealous young man devoted to his ideals, turns his back on his privilege to join the leftist movement in the jungles of Venezuela. There, as he trains, he meets Emiliana, a nurse and fellow revolutionary. Though their intense connection seems to be love at first sight, their romance is upended by a decision with consequences that will echo down through the generations.
Almost forty years later, in a poor barrio of Caracas, María, a single mother, ekes out a precarious existence as a housekeeper, pouring her love into Eloy, her young son. Her devotion will not be enough, however, to keep them from disaster. On the eve of the attempted coup against President Chávez, Eloy is wounded by a stray bullet, fracturing her world. Amid the chaos at the hospital, María encounters Stanislavo, now a newspaper editor. Even as the country itself is convulsed by waves of unrest, this twist of fate forces a belated reckoning for Stanislavo, who may yet earn a chance to atone for old missteps before it’s too late.
With its epic scope, gripping narrative, and unflinching intimacy, Freedom Is a Feast announces a major new talent. Alejandro Puyana has delivered a wise and moving debut about sticking to one’s beliefs at the expense of pain and chaos, about the way others can suffer for our misdeeds even when we have the best of intentions, and about the possibility for redemption when love persists across time.

  • “Epic doesn’t begin to describe this extraordinary novel. Freedom Is a Feast is as vivid and wondrous as your best dream, as unsettling and unforgettable as your worst. They say you can’t fit the entire world into a novel, but Puyana comes close. What a gift he has given readers, what a profound, shattering, inspiring gift.”
    Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize–winning and New York Times bestselling author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This Is How You Lose Her
  • “ 'Born storyteller' gets thrown around too easily, but how else would we believe that this is a debut? Freedom Is a Feast is fearlessly ambitious, dizzyingly complex, gorgeously written, and chock full of magic, sin, loss, and enduring love. A novel like this comes with fantastic precedent—García Márquez, Allende—but seems to have arrived fully formed, all by its dazzling self.”
    Marlon James, Booker Prize–winning and New York Times bestselling author of A Brief History of Seven Killings and Black Leopard, Red Wolf
  • Freedom Is a Feast is a rare and explosive novel about the lengths to which the human heart will go for what is just and what is right. Alejandro Puyana announces himself as a major new talent with this unflinching debut of love, revolution, and family.”
    Kali Fajardo-Anstine, National Book Award finalist for Sabrina & Corina
  • “Spanning some fifty years and populated with unforgettable characters, Freedom Is a Feast is a debut of tremendous scope and gravity. Alejandro Puyana writes brilliantly about the ceaseless human quest to make a better world.”
    Laura van den Berg, author of State of Paradise
  • “Heart-stopping, heartbreaking, expansive, riveting: Alejandro Puyana’s Freedom Is a Feast is an astonishing first novel by a writer capable of showing the sweep of history and the souls of his characters at the same time.”
    Elizabeth McCracken, National Book Award finalist and author of Bowlaway
  • “In this vivid and arresting novel lives are lived in triage. A man is ‘a sheathed knife,’ and people are ‘bargaining chips’ during the dangerous reign of Hugo Chávez. Stories of humanity and even love shine through brutality, while lives change—or end—in an instant. Citizens are faced with impossible choices in the quest for freedom, and the need to honor their culture. Freedom Is a Feast is a memorable debut, and Puyana is already a master storyteller.”
    Amy Hempel, author of Reasons to Live and The Collected Stories
  • “Alejandro Puyana’s debut novel, Freedom Is a Feast, sneaks up on you, ensnares you, then explodes around you. It is a tour de force. Applause for the new master.”
    Luis Alberto Urrea, New York Times bestselling author of Good Night, Irene and The House of Broken Angels
  • Freedom Is a Feast is a searing and soaring novel, a book that lays bare the costs of tyranny and the heart-rending sacrifices of those who dare to fight against it. By rendering the lives of characters from his native Venezuela with such clear-eyed compassion, Alejandro Puyana has given readers an extraordinary window into the soul of a nation. Freedom Is a Feast is the perfect novel for this political moment—a story of anger and loss, of courage and hope, and, with luck, of change.”
    Bret Anthony Johnston, author of the national bestseller Remember Me Like This
  • "Propulsive, pulse-quickening . . . Cinematic settings, evolving characters, and an explosive plot support a story of love and politics."
    Kirkus Reviews
  • “Puyana debuts with a gripping story of a family shaped by Venezuela’s tumultuous history during the Cold War and early 21st century . . . wrenching . . . Puyana’s beautifully crafted narrative explores the complexity of his characters’ choices and loyalties. This novel is impossible to put down.”
    Publishers Weekly (starred)

On Sale
Aug 20, 2024
Page Count
448 pages

Alejandro Puyana

About the Author

Alejandro Puyana, who came to the United States from Venezuela at the age of twenty-six, received his MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas. His work has appeared in Tin House, American Short Fiction, The American Scholar, and elsewhere, and his story “Hands of Dirty Children” was reprinted in Best American Short Stories. He lives with his wife (the writer Brittani Sonnenberg) and daughter in Austin, Texas.

Learn more about this author