Debra Spark,


Buy Now
  • Winner, John Zacharis First Book Award, 1995 
  • Discover Great New Writers, Barnes and Noble, 1995 

Coconuts for the Saint

Novel. Boston: Faber and Faber, 1994. London: Faber and Faber, 1996. NY: Avon, 1996. IN: Engine Books, 2020. (Reprint.)

On the doorstep of a bakery on a blue street in Puerto Rico, Maria Elena faints. Revived by sweet morsels of wedding cake, she falls headlong into the lives of Sandrofo Cordero Luero and his identical triplet daughters. Sandrofo came to the island from mainland United States ten years earlier to start a new life. A widower, he has not taken a lover since, and Maria Elena resolves to find out why. But her questions to Sandrofo are met with silence, and her insatiable curiosity about his past threatens the family’s elaborately conducted identity.


“Spark offers an excellent debut novel that examines the nature of love, the power of family and the inexorable pull of the past (…) The emotional material is remarkably accomplished, and Spark uses her intricate, multilayered structure to deliver a myriad of entertaining scenes and marvelous insights.”
Publisher’s Weekly, starred review

“Ms. Spark (has) undeniable appeal, a knack for the unpredictable that makes reading her novel a process of incremental discovery. The openness of her mind, the generosity of her narrative spirit, bring life to the book in, well, a magical way.

“(…) enough to secure Debra Spark’s future as a novelist.”
The New York Times Book Review

“In a lush debut, Debra Spark explores the mysteries of identity and the minefield of memory with unmistakeable grace.  This is a gorgeous novel and an ambitious one.”

“… as richly imaginative, wildly sensual and wisely unsettling as they come.  Real world magic.”
The Washington Post Book World”

“The Boston-based editor of Twenty Under Thirty reveals her own promise with this magical first novel.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A beguiling, generously proportioned tale of love, secrets and family ties.”
The Scotsman

“Eloquent and enchanting … a delightful novel … reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende.  Spark has combined an acute sense of place with a suspenseful plot … and with characters that are emotionally believable and realistic…  It should earn Spark a broad and devoted following of readers impatient for her next book.”
Boston Book Review