Fee Download Lost City Radio, by Daniel Alarcon
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Lost City Radio, by Daniel Alarcon
Fee Download Lost City Radio, by Daniel Alarcon
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For ten years, Norma has been the on-air voice of consolation and hope for the Indians in the mountains and the poor from the barrios—a people broken by war’s violence. As the host of Lost City Radio, she reads the names of those who have disappeared—those whom the furiously expanding city has swallowed. Through her efforts lovers are reunited and the lost are found. But in the aftermath of the decadelong bloody civil conflict, her own life is about to forever change—thanks to the arrival of a young boy from the jungle who provides a cryptic clue to the fate of Norma’s vanished husband.
- Sales Rank: #424948 in Books
- Brand: Alarcon, Daniel
- Published on: 2008-02-05
- Released on: 2008-02-05
- Original language: English
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: 8.00″ h x .65″ w x 5.31″ l, .48 pounds
- Binding: Paperback
- 257 pages
- Daniel Alarcon
Most helpful customer reviews
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
By Patty Diaz S
Too violent and sad
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful.
Worth your time
By Newton Munnow
Lost City Radio tells the story of a country, not unlike Peru, recovering from a long and divisive civil war between the government and a grass roots terrorist organization. Alarcon uses the structure of a family to narrate his story, not that the family is vaguely regular, consisting of lovers and children, unknowing wives and husbands leading more than one life. It is, in many ways, as much of a parable as anything, but Alarcon is a sharp, intelligent writer. You may well guess the secrets of the plot, but Alarcon isn’t concerned as much with the secrets, but the banality behind them and the anguish that they cause. The novel is highly fragmented, jumping in location, time, narrator, but it’s to Alarcon’s credit that it’s easy to follow, fluid. All in all, it’s an impressive piece of work, welded together by a melancholy mixture of silence and memory. Definitely, worth your time.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful.
A haunting first novel
In a world riven by sectarian violence and stalked by ethnic tension and the conflict it spawns, it’s all too tempting simply to turn away from stark images of terrorist bombings or to flick the remote control to revel in the story of the latest celebrity embarrassment. In his quietly haunting first novel, LOST CITY RADIO, Peruvian-born American writer and author of the widely-praised short story collection WAR BY CANDLELIGHT, Daniel Alarcón, forces us to confront the inhumanity of these conflicts and the toll they exact on both participants and bystanders.
LOST CITY RADIO is set in an unnamed South American country a decade after the government has crushed the 10-year-long rebellion of a group of insurgents dubbed the “Illegitimate Legion.” The war’s inciting grievance, if there was one, was soon forgotten and yet the battles raged on, devastating urban neighborhoods and depopulating the towns and villages that dot the countryside. Rey, one of the novel’s main characters, muses that the war “would have happened anyway. It was unavoidable. It’s a way of life in a country like ours.”
Rey is an “ethobotanist committed to the preservation of disappearing plant species.” Near the end of the conflict he vanishes in the vicinity of a jungle village renamed “1797,” as part of a government program to eradicate vestiges of local history by replacing traditional place names with numbers. Each Sunday night his widow, Norma, hosts a wildly popular program entitled “Lost City Radio” on the government-owned radio station during which she fields calls from people looking for missing family members, many of them victims of the political violence and others simply erased from the lives of their loved ones by the country’s advancing urbanization. Her voice, “gold that stank of empathy,” in the words of her station manager Elmer, snakes out over the city and the program sometimes results in reunions that become occasions for popular celebrations. In all the years she’s hosted the show, Norma has never abandoned hope that someday it will serve as the vehicle for a reunion with Rey.
Norma’s life as the “mother to an imaginary nation of missing people” is disrupted irretrievably when a young boy named Victor, a refugee from 1797 whose mother recently has drowned, appears at the station clutching a list of the disappeared compiled by his fellow villagers. Even more unsettling to Norma than the fact that Victor comes from the remote village where Rey was last seen is the appearance on the list of an assumed name under which her late husband carried out clandestine political activities. Despite a seemingly happy marriage to Rey, Norma knew little of these activities and even less of what her husband did on his frequent trips, ostensibly for scientific research, into the jungle.
Slowly and seductively, Alarcón peels away the layers of Rey’s double life. The night he and Norma meet he’s imprisoned and tortured at a prison called the “Moon.” A year later, they reunite and soon are married. Eventually, Rey is recruited by a man in a rumpled suit to act as a secret courier, but the novel hints at a much deeper involvement in terrorist activities, something that creates an unbridgeable distance between him and Norma.
Childless herself, Norma becomes by default Victor’s parent. Elijah Manau, Victor’s teacher and his mother’s lover, who accompanies the boy to the city and initially abandons him, rejoins Norma and Victor and the three unite in an odyssey across the urban landscape. Norma learns a secret about Rey even more stunning than any revelation of his political activities.
Like radio dial flickering between distant stations, LOST CITY RADIO moves seamlessly from Norma’s life in the postwar capital city, to her relationship with Rey, and on to glimpses of life in 1797, separated from the capital not merely by distance, but by a vast cultural gulf. Though the scenes it depicts give the novel a distinctly Latin American atmosphere, Alarcon himself, in a 2005 interview in the San Francisco Chronicle, acknowledged, “if I were Pakistani or Kenyan, I could probably be writing a similar novel.” He’s acutely aware of the novel’s universal themes: “What does a car bomb say about poverty,” he writes, “or the execution of a rural mayor explain about disenfranchisement?”
Alarcón’s prose is elliptical and dreamlike, aptly suited to the mysterious spell he weaves in LOST CITY RADIO. It’s a novel that whispers, rather than shouts, for our attention, and it’s all the more powerful and moving for that fact.
— Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg ([…])
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