Monday, March 05, 2007

Book Review: Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcon

Daniel Alarcón writes with a poet's heart and a reporter's skill. He began researching the book in 1999, interviewing those who'd survived the violence that tore through his native Peru, and studying other conflicts around the globe. His journalism paid off. "Lost City Radio" is filled with startling images that are impossible to shake: A boy from the rain forest longs to see the ocean, not to play in the surf, but to search for his mother's battered body. Government soldiers bury prisoners to their necks, then urinate on their faces. Rebels lop off a man's hands while his children watch.

But all is not carnage and cruelty. Alarcón understands the yin/yang of warfare and its aftermath, and describes with beautiful, succinct prose how opposing sensibilities - loyalty and treachery, tenderness and brutality - can co-exist in the same body, the same place, like dandelions poking through chunks of broken asphalt.
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