Simon & Schuster Canada was kind enough to send me a copy of Armando Lucas Correa’s latest, The Night Travelers, and I was delighted to find myself completely swept up in the narrative he created, weaving historical fact into a multi-generational tale of mothers and daughters.
Through the eyes of Ally, Lilith, Nadine and Luna we experience the rise of Nazi Germany, then cross the globe for Batista and Castro’s Cuba, before exploring New York and a return to Germany. Accompanied by a poem kept private from mother to daughter, the story follows the heights of sacrifice, family, discovery, and reconciling the past.
Correa doles out the story beautifully, giving us glimpses of lives that are filled with everyday moments, and horrific ones that shape the characters and the readers. As Ally sends Lilith away from the nightmare rise of Nazism, and ‘genetic and racial purity’, to Lilith’s time in Cuba and the raising of her own daughter, Nadine.
Broken into three acts, the narrative offers us a look at the best and worst of what humanity can be. Correa grounds everything he writes in reality, drawing on historical events to serve not only as backdrops to his narrative but as essential players.
Evocative, touching, and heartbreaking, The Night Travelers was nothing short of an engrossing read that wraps up the reader and whisks them along through a family’s legacy and pain.
Lyrical, poignant, and often heart-wrenching, Correa’s novel brings his characters to life easily and shares the pain, joy, wonder and love of parenthood, family, and the connection between a mother and her daughter.
There are a collection of author’s notes at the end of the novel that highlight incidents and concepts put forward in the novel, revealing their historical existence. The racial and genetic purity that the Nazi party clung to was no surprise, but the existence of the St. Louis passenger ship and its journey to Cuba, and Operation Pedro Pan were revelations to me, and experiencing them in context alongside the characters was nothing short of heartbreaking.
In the end, I can’t recommend The Night Travelers enough. It is the first must-read of 2023, intimate, sweeping, and powerful, Correa brings to life the light even in the darkest of history’s moments.
Please race to the book store, or your local library, and pick up a copy of The Night Travelers by Armando Lucas Correa, available now from Simon & Schuster. You won’t regret the journey it takes you on.