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Daniel Alarcón Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Lost City Radio (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
At Night We Walk in Circles (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Graphic Novels

City of Clowns (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Secret Miracle (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

War by Candlelight (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The King Is Always Above the People (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

X-24: Unclassified(2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Best American Fantasy(2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Future Is Not Ours: New Latin American Fiction(2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Mystery Stories 2014(2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Immigrant Voices: 21st Century Voices(2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2015(2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
One World Two(2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The New Yorker, 04/05/21(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Daniel Alarcón is an American Peruvian author that has made a name for himself for writing Latin American literary works that have garnered him much critical acclaim. Alarcón got his first start in the literary world as a journalist in 2004, when he worked for several Latin American publications such as “Etiqueta Negra” and later European and American ones such as “El Pais”, “New York Times Magazine”, “Harpers”, and “Granta”, where in 2010 he served as Contributing Editor. He is the founder of “Radio Ambulante”, a pioneer Spanish language podcast in narrative long form covering Latin America, which is the first of its kind. His “All Politics is Local” that Harper published in 2012 made the National Magazine Award shortlist. His first venture into literary fiction was the 2003 short story “City of Clowns” that was featured in the New Yorker. Two years later, he was back with a bang after “War by Candlelight” his short story collection was published by HarperCollins to much critical acclaim. He would follow that up with his debut novel “Lost City Radio” that was his biggest work yet, garnering much praise from critics all over the US.

Daniel Alarcón was born in Peru but moved to the United States aged three, where he was raised in Birmingham, Alabama. Growing up, he had always loved reading and was fascinated by Russian and English authors such as Dostoevsky and Dickens. He went to Indian Springs School and was a regular at the Telluride Association Summer Program. Some of his favorite English language writers included the likes of Jonathan Safran Foer, Arundhati Roy, and Zadie Smith. It was during this time that he also read many Latin American writers such as Mario Vargas Llosa, Julio Cortazar, and Borges. He is a graduate of Columbia University from where he got his BA in Anthropology in 1999. He got his Creative Writing MFA from the University of Iowa before he proceeded to Graduate Journalism School at the University of California Berkeley, where he was an Investigative Reporting Fellow. Some of his long form journalistic pieces focus on a wide range of topics such as emerging democracy in prison, book piracy, and the rise of the new nationalist left in his native Peru. It was at Iowa that he was introduced to some of the best in American fiction from the likes of Carver and John Cheever. Cheever made the biggest impression in the budding author, particularly his style that made him care about the characters in his works. Even as he has never been one to worry about suburban middle class white professionals, Cheever wrote about them so passionately that made him care. This is what he carried through to his later works about Latin American sociopolitical and economic paradigms focusing on Peru.

Daniel Alarcón paints a portrait of societies on the edge of chaos and under stress often from a devastating civil war. Most of his characters find themselves caught up in the aftermath and are swept up in the tumult, forcing them to live a life of constant tension and fear. While Alarcón initially made his name when he broke out into the American landscape, his current works transcend the American landscape. His works that have been translated into more than ten languages are now read in the entire Latin America and across the world. He underscores the shared stories between the first world and the developing world, by showcasing the specific circumstances between the two world and the forces influencing the relationship.

Daniel Alarcón’s works focus on the themes of violence, war, and poverty in Latin America, while touching on authoritarian regimes and neocolonialism. The novels assert that poverty, violence, and migration cannot be analyzed independent of each other. He writes about the hopelessness of children living in abject conditions in his “City of Clowns” as a result of the dangers and violence wrought by the massive immigration into the city after a civil war. “The Idiot President” set in Andean mining town is about the effects of neocolonialism and the effects of decades-long civil war. The novels talk of the disparities between the impoverished people in the town and the American engineers that live in utmost luxury. While many of the novels are set in Peru or an unidentified South American state, the stories are meant to make the reader think and connect with the realities of other countries in a global setting. The narratives are to remind the reader that even though they are set in Lima, the global processes are similar to those of London, Madrid, Cleveland, Atlanta, San Jose, or New York.

“Lost City Radio”, Daniel Alarcón’s debut novel is a searing and powerful novel following the impacts of a civil war on three lives. For the past decade, Norma has been the spokesperson for those broken by the ravages of the civil war. As the host of a popular program known as “Lost City Radio”, she reads the names of persons that have disappeared and stories of lost ones reuniting with their loved ones. Even as she hosts the program, what her audience does not know is that she is silently suffering her own loss: her husband went missing at the tail end of the civil war never to be heard from again. But things become even more complicated when a young man emerges from the forest with news that may offer clues to the whereabouts of her long-lost spouse. “Lost City Radio” is a mesmerizing, timely, and stunning narrative of the effect of violence in a society, which leaves huge scars on every survivor, observer, and participant for years to come.

“At Night We Walk in Circles” is a riveting novel about the life of one man in an unspecified South American country whose life is in a shambles. Nelson’s career has stalled, his girlfriend is cheating on him, and his brother has abandoned him to go to the US, leaving him to care for his aging mother alone. Things get better when he lands a part in a revival of a legendary play known as “The Idiot President”. The play is written by Henry Nunez one of Nelson’s heroes that was the lead member of “Diciembre” a highly decorated guerilla theater troupe. Nelson runs into trouble when the touring group travels to a strange landscape that has not yet healed from the scars of the brutal civil war. With each staged performance, Nelson becomes entangled into the complex lives of his fellow thespians, until a highly acclaimed performance brings to the surface a long buried secret of betrayal.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Daniel Alarcón

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