Something is happening around the globe: mass movements of peoples, dislocations of language and culture in the wake of war and economic crises -- simply put, our world is changing.
In this exquisite collection, Daniel Alarcón takes the reader from Third World urban centers to the fault lines that divide nations and people. Wars, both national and internal, are waged in jungles, across borders, in the streets of Lima, in the intimacy of New York apartments. These are lives at the margins of the globalized and not-yet-globalized worlds, the stories of those who shuttle between them and never quite feel at home in the cities where they were born: an unrepentant terrorist remembers where it all began, a would-be emigrant contemplates the ramifications of leaving and never coming back, a reporter turns in his pad and pencil for the inglorious costume of a street clown.
War by Candlelight is a devastating portrait ofa world in flux, and Daniel Alarcón is an extraordinary new voice in literary fiction, one you will not soon forget.
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Daniel Alarcon's debut story collection, War by Candlelight, was a finalist for the 2006 PEN/Hemingway Award. He has received a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and has been named by Granta magazine one of the Best American Novelists under thirty-five. He is the associate editor of Etiqueta Negra, an award-winning monthly magazine published in his native Lima, Peru. He lives in Oakland, California.From Publishers Weekly:
Civil strife and natural disasters mark these nine unflinching stories set in upper Manhattan and the blighted countryside and atrophied capital of Peru. Callous government forces destroy a prison controlled by rioting inmates in the grimly poetic "Flood." In the "City of Clowns"—first published in the New Yorker—social protests crowd Lima, where "dying is the local sport," while narrator Oscar, a jaded young journalist, grapples with his father's death and with his father's second family, which includes other sons and a mistress who seems to be befriending his mother. A revolutionary, who, with his compañeros, worships "frivolous violence," prowls around looking for black dogs to slaughter in "Lima, Peru, July 28, 1979." His brief, almost tender interaction with a passing cop is a striking example of doomed connection. And an accidental explosion kills a well-educated guerrilla in a Peruvian jungle, leaving his infant daughter fatherless, in the affecting title story. Even the collection's warmest scene—a father gives his impish five-year-old a make-up kit for her birthday in "A Science for Being Alone"—is muffled by her and her mother's impending emigration to the United States. Though his vision often seems bleak, Alarcón's voice is fierce and assured, and his debut collection engages.
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