In this week's edition of Endnotes, we take a look at Julia Alvarez's latest novel, The Cemetery of Untold Stories (Algonquin, Apr.), which follows sixty-something writer Alma Cruz as she deals with the death of a friend and fellow author and the blurry boundaries between reality and fiction. In its review, Publishers Weekly said, "Alvarez seamlessly melds magical realism with heartfelt character portraits. This brims with the intoxicating power of storytelling."

Here's how the book came together.

Julia Alvarez, Author

“When I lost sight in one eye, I felt heartbroken that all my unrealized characters and their unfinished stories might not find the light of day. So, very slowly, with great frustration at first as I learned to work in new ways with compromised vision, I created a place where they could finally be finished. This is not my last book, or so I hope. I’m not yet ready to join my characters in the cemetery of untold stories.”

Amy Gash, Executive Editor, Algonquin Books

“When Julia’s novel arrived, I tore through it, and when I finished, I was in a kind of altered state. So completely had I inhabited this other world Julia created that working on the book was really about making sure my down-to-earth edits didn’t somehow diminish that intoxicating otherworldly feeling I wanted all readers to experience.”

Stuart Bernstein, Agent, Stuart Bernstein Representation for Artists

“Algonquin has been Julia’s publisher since her first novel, when I was still a bookseller. Now, as her agent of 10-plus years, it was incredibly moving to read this manuscript in which characters resist a writer’s control and write themselves. In a way it’s what every novelist hopes for, and Julia goes steps beyond. Sending the manuscript to Amy, I warned her it is ‘anxious to be read.’ That’s how alive it felt to me.”

Christopher Moisan, Creative Director, Algonquin Books

“As soon as I started reading, I knew Gaby D’Alessandro was the illustrator to collaborate with. Gaby is an incredibly talented Dominican illustrator with a deep connection to Julia’s books. Gaby captured the dreamlike atmosphere perfectly. The jacket depicts a statue in a cemetery, but it’s magical, not macabre or grim.”