Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Book Review: Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcón

John Freeman reviews Daniel Alarcón's "Lost City Radio".

This novel could feel like a political tract, were it not so skilful at portraying the moral insanity of war. Lost City Radio reveals how hard it is to separate villains from victims, killers from the killed.

The novel's key plot revolves around a boy who is sent from a village to the city to have a list of names read on Norma's show. His appearance sets off a chain of events that show how all the characters are more connected than at first appears.

Alarcón is still in his late 20s, but he has a veteran's control of the complicated plot mechanisms this storyline requires. More impressively, time and again he resists the urge to bring the hammer of judgment down upon any of his characters.

We emerge from this impressive political fable with a profound sense of loss and rage, and a clarifying glimpse into the futility of violence.

"What does the end of a war mean," Alarcón writes, early in the novel, "if not that one side ran out of men willing to die?" Read More

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