The Great Divide
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From the publisher
‘A gorgeous, sweeping epic’ ANN NAPOLITANO
‘One of my favourite writers' ROXANE GAY
A breathtaking historical novel following the incredible construction of the Panama Canal and casting light on the unsung people who lived and laboured in its shadow – by acclaimed author Cristina Henríquez.
It is said that the Canal will be the greatest feat of engineering in history. But first, it must be built.
Ada Bunting, a bold sixteen-year-old from Barbados, arrives alone in Panama as a stowaway alongside thousands of other West Indians seeking work in the grand building project of the Canal. Francisco, a local fisherman, resents the foreign nations clamouring for a slice of his country, but nothing is more upsetting for him than his son Omar’s decision to work as a digger. For Omar, whose upbringing was quiet and lonely, this job offers a chance to finally find connection and independence. Scientist John Oswald has come from further afield. He has journeyed to Panama in pursuit of one goal: eliminating malaria. But everything hangs in the balance as his wife Marian falls ill herself.
When John witnesses an act of bravery and compassion from Ada one day, he hires her on the spot as a caregiver for his wife. This fateful decision sets in motion a sweeping tale of ambition, loyalty, and sacrifice.
Breathtaking and impossible to put down, The Great Divide explores the lives of the labourers, fishmongers, journalists, protesters, doctors and soothsayers who lived alongside the construction of the Canal – those rarely acknowledged by history even as they carved out its course.
'Henríquez writes gorgeously, creating indelible characters whom you’ll never want to leave' JUSTIN TORRES
'Henríquez’s pitch-perfect novel has the feel of a classic' PUBLISHERS WEEKLY