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At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcon
  

At Night We Walk in Circles

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Set in Peru (although the country is never named), this is a gentle tale that gets under your skin in a way you would least expect. Nothing dramatic occurs for a long time and you are carried along, totally absorbed, by a narrator you do not actually meet until about 80 per cent of the way through the book. He refers to interviews and what people said to him, a story- telling style that works really well. Gradually there are subtle hints that something bad is going to happen … oh dear. This is South America of the 1980s, with demonstrating students whom we might call hippies but they call terrorists and appropriate action is taken against them. This is a wonderful book which is actually an expansion of the author’s short story The Idiot President, published by the New Yorker.

If you like Daniel Alarcon you might also like to read books by E. L. Doctorow, Richard Powers and Hanif Kureishi.

Synopsis

At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcon

The breakout book from Daniel Alarcon, one of the New Yorker's 20 best writers under 40: a breathtaking, suspenseful search for the truth of one man's spectacular downfall. Nelson's life is not turning out the way he hoped. His girlfriend is sleeping with another man, his brother has left their South American country and moved to the United States, leaving Nelson to care for their widowed mother, and his acting career can't seem to get off the ground. That is, until he lands a starring role in a touring revival of The Idiot President, with legendary guerrilla theatre troupe Diciembre. And that's when the real trouble begins. The tour takes Nelson across a landscape scarred by years of civil war. Forging bonds with his fellow actors, he becomes hopelessly entangled in their lives, until a long-buried betrayal erupts into chaos. Nelson's fate is slowly revealed through the investigation of the narrator, a young man obsessed with Nelson's story-and perhaps closer to it than he lets on. In sharp, vivid, and beautiful prose, Alarcon delivers a compulsively readable narrative and a provocative meditation on fate, identity, and the large consequences that can result from even our smallest choices.

Reviews

'Nabokov says that imagination is a form of memory, and this novel is a perfect example of this claim. In writing about a place, its people and its history, Daniel Alarcon's memory catches the evanescent details of everyday life, while his imagination, never for a moment blurred, creates a powerful story with so many intricate characters. This is a novel written with extraordinary vision and wisdom.' - Yiyun Li, author of Gold Boy, Emerald Girl and The Vagrants

About the Author

Daniel Alarcon was born in Lima, Peru, in 1977 and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. His collection of short stories, 'War By Candlelight', was published in 2005 to great acclaim, and was followed by a novel, 'Lost City Radio', in 2007. His writing has appeared in 'McSweeney's', 'n+1', and 'Harper's', and he has been named one of the 20 best writers under 40 by the 'New Yorker. He lives in Oakland, California. 'At Night We Walk in Circles' is his second novel.

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Book Info

Publication date

16th January 2014

Author

Daniel Alarcon

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Author's Website

www.danielalarcon.com/books

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Publisher

Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Format

Hardback
384 pages

Categories

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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780007517398

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