Novel set in The Bahamas: ‘Fingerprints of Previous Owners’


A report from Cornell’s News Center. Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.

Cornell College Professor Rebecca Entel’s book is earning strong reviews as people take in the story found within the pages of her first novel.

In fact, “Fingerprints of Previous Owners” has landed on 2017 must-read lists and has gained the attention of many reporters. The English professor has been interviewed by several publications such as the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Entel’s book takes place at a Caribbean resort built on top of slave plantation ruins. The narrator, Myrna, works as a maid at the resort by day; by night she secretly excavates the ruins. Tension erupts in the pages of Entel’s book with the arrival of an African-American tourist, who has new information about the history of the slave-owner’s estate.

“I’ve been traveling to a small island in the Bahamas since 2010 to teach a Caribbean literature course with my Cornell College students,” Entel said. “So much of what I saw there in my first few trips stayed on my mind and ultimately led to this book: the overgrown ruins of slave plantations we needed a machete to reach; the beach where garbage washes up from all over the world; the contrasts between an international resort and the rest of the island.”The story started stirring in Entel’s mind in 2010.

Entel said the past six years have been filled with plenty of ups and downs as she developed these characters and discovered new pieces of the story that she never imagined would be a part of the story.

Now she’s excited for readers to take in every word of Myrna’s story and hopes the story lingers in people’s minds, inspiring new ideas and questions.

“I hope any reader will become immersed in the story, care about the characters, and continue thinking about the bigger ideas the book takes up, such as how we deal with the past in our everyday lives, the connection between memory and physical place, and what storytelling can and can’t accomplish,” Entel said.

The book is available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook in stores and online. It can also be purchased directly from the publisher at


Reviews & Media Coverage:



Fingerprints of Previous Owners

Rebecca Entel

The Unnamed Press, 2017

212 pages

ISBN: 978-1944700232


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