Lost City Radio (French Edition)

Overview

A powerful and searing novel of three lives fractured by a civil war

For ten years, Norma has been the voice of consolation for a people broken by violence. She hosts Lost City Radio, the most popular program in their nameless South American country, gripped in the aftermath of war. Every week, the Indians in the mountains and the poor from the barrios listen as she reads the names of those who have gone missing, those whom the furiously expanding city has swallowed. Loved ones ...

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2008 PAPERBACK New 2226182381 ALBIN MICHEL (39505) Weight: 510g. / 1.12lbs Great Customer Service! *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. ... In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Overview

A powerful and searing novel of three lives fractured by a civil war

For ten years, Norma has been the voice of consolation for a people broken by violence. She hosts Lost City Radio, the most popular program in their nameless South American country, gripped in the aftermath of war. Every week, the Indians in the mountains and the poor from the barrios listen as she reads the names of those who have gone missing, those whom the furiously expanding city has swallowed. Loved ones are reunited and the lost are found. Each week, she returns to the airwaves while hiding her own personal loss: her husband disappeared at the end of the war.

But the life she has become accustomed to is forever changed when a young boy arrives from the jungle and provides a clue to the fate of her long-missing husband.

Stunning, timely, and absolutely mesmerizing, Lost City Radio probes the deepest questions of war and its meaning: from its devastating impact on a society transformed by violence to the emotional scarring each participant, observer, and survivor carries for years after. This tender debut marks Alarcón's emergence as a major new voice in American fiction.

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Editorial Reviews

Jonathan Yardley
Lost City Radio is a fable for an entire continent, and is no less pertinent in other parts of the world where different languages are spoken in different climates but where the same ruinous dance is played out.
— The Washington Post
Sarah Fay
… there’s enough here to confirm that Alarcón is talented — and wise — beyond his years, that he remains intent on challenging himself and his readers.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Set in a fictional South American nation where guerrillas have long clashed with the government, Alarc n's ambitious first novel (after the story collection War by Candlelight) follows a trio of characters upended by civil strife. Norma, whose husband, Rey, disappeared 10 years ago after the end of a civil war, hosts popular radio show Lost City Radio, which reconnects callers with their missing loved ones. (She quietly entertains the notion that the job will also reunite her with her missing husband.) So when an 11-year-old orphan, Victor, shows up at the radio station with a list of his distant village's "lost people," the station plans a special show dedicated to his case and cranks up its promotional machine. Norma, meanwhile, notices a name on the list that's an alias her husband used to use, prompting her to resume her quest to find him. She and Victor travel to Victor's home village, where local teacher Manau reveals to Norma what she's long feared-and more. Though the mystery Alarc n makes of the identity of Victor's father isn't particularly mysterious, this misstep is overshadowed by Alarc n's successful and nimbly handled portrayal of war's lingering consequences. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In his first novel, Alarc n reexamines poignant issues found in his critically acclaimed short story collection, War by Candlelight, a finalist for the 2006 PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award. As war escalates between the government of a South American country and the guerrilla factions challenging it, people seek a better or at least different life by fleeing into the city, leaving their loved ones behind. But radio-show host Norma brings hope to people looking for the lost by reading their names on air, reuniting those who are willing. When a boy from a jungle village shows up at the station, it becomes clear that Norma is also searching for a loved one, and the visit helps her regain forgotten hope. Alarc n digs deep into the collective history of international conflict and current strife to bring us the harsh reality shown here, engaging us both as readers and as global citizens. Like Orwell, he poses difficult social questions that often go unvoiced, and he effectively explores an exhaustive range of emotion in just over 250 pages, rendering his insights in beautiful, painstakingly precise language. Literature is fortunate to have such a promising, thought-provoking young writer. Recommended for all public and academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/5/06.]-Stephen Morrow, Columbus, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The host of a radio show finds herself increasingly tangled in the legacy of her country's wearying history of war. Like the dystopian settings of Brave New World and 1984, the nation that Alarc-n describes in his jarring and deeply imagined first novel feels at once anonymous and very familiar. Norma lives in the capital city of a South American nation that has spent ten years recovering from a long civil war that pitted the army against a failed cadre of rebels called the Illegitimate Legion. The reasons for the fighting are obscure, but Norma has become a national folk hero by helping to pick up the pieces; as the host of "Lost City Radio," she reunites listeners with family members who were among the "disappeared" during the war. She's not wholly dispassionate about her work: Among the missing is her husband, Rey, a plant scholar who paid dearly, perhaps even fatally, for his freethinking attitude. A young boy named Victor visits the station from the jungle village of 1797 (all towns were renamed with numbers under the new regime), bearing a list of people its residents are searching for; through Victor, Norma is forced to intimately contemplate the war, and how she and Rey were connected to it. There's little plot in the present-day sections-the story mainly sparks remembrances of the past, which allows Alarc-n to render this unnamed country in remarkable detail. In reportorial prose, he describes the folkways of the jungle village where Victor was born, and the lives of its residents; the horrors of the Moon, the concentration camp where Rey suffered various indignities; and the shape of the secretive underground movement in the city. Alarc-n (stories: War by Candlelight, 2005)makes increasingly strong connections between city and jungle, the army and the rebels, and Norma and Victor, sending a powerful message about how war has a way of implicating everybody. Alarc-n has mapped a whole nation and given its war-torn history real depth-an impressive feat.
Entertainment Weekly
“…Alarcón’s novel eloquently fuses passion, violence, and societal trepidation at offending the ruling party. Grade: A-”
Daily News
“The idea of remembering - and its dangers - permeates the book...powerful and ambitious.”
Washington Post Book World
“[A] thoughtful, engaging first novel ...With the publication of Lost City Radio, Alarcón is off and running.”
Colm Toibin
“...one of the most exciting and ambitious writers to emerge in recent years.”
Washington Post Book World - Jonathan Yardley
"[A] thoughtful, engaging first novel ...With the publication of Lost City Radio, Alarcón is off and running."
Ann Patchett
“Alarcon writes about subterfuge, lies, and the arbitrary recreation of history with a masterful clarity.”
Jonathan Yardley for the Washington Post Book World
“[A] thoughtful, engaging first novel ...With the publication of Lost City Radio, Alarcón is off and running.”
Uzodinma Iweala
“Alarcon’s prose is quick and beautiful. This is a first novel that needs to be read.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9782226182388
  • Publisher: Albin Michel
  • Publication date: 3/28/2008
  • Language: French
  • Pages: 368

Meet the Author

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.

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Read an Excerpt

Lost City Radio


By Daniel Alarcon

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Daniel Alarcon
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780060594794

Chapter One

They took Norma off the air that Tuesday morning because a boy was dropped off at the station. He was quiet and thin and had a note. The receptionists let him through. A meeting was called.

The conference room was full of light and had an expansive view of the city, looking east toward the mountains. When Norma walked in, Elmer was seated at the head of the table, rubbing his face as if he'd been woken from a restless, unsatisfying sleep. He nodded as she sat, then yawned and fiddled with the top of a pill bottle he'd taken from his pocket. "Go for some water," he groaned to his assistant. "And empty these ashtrays, Len. Jesus."

The boy sat across from Elmer, in a stiff wooden chair, staring down at his feet. He was slender and fragile, and his eyes were too small for his face. His head had been shaved--to kill lice, Norma supposed. There were the faint beginnings of a mustache above his lips. His shirt was threadbare, and his unhemmed pants were knotted around his waist with a shoestring.

Norma sat closest to him, her back to the door, facing the white city.

Len reappeared with a pitcher of water. It was choked with bubbles, tinged gray. Elmer poured himself a glass and swallowed two pills. He coughed into his hand. "Let's get right to it," Elmer said when Len had sat. "We're sorry to interrupt the news, Norma, but we wanted you tomeet Victor."

"Tell her how old you are, boy," Len said.

"I'm eleven," the child said, his voice barely audible. "And a half."

Len cleared his throat, glanced at Elmer, as if for permission to speak. With a nod from his boss, he began. "That's a terrific age," Len said. "Now, you came looking for Norma, isn't that right?"

"Yes," Victor said.

"Do you know him?"

Norma didn't.

"He says he came from the jungle," Len continued. "We thought you'd want to meet him. For the show."

"Great," she said. "Thank you."

Elmer stood and walked to the window. He was a silhouette against the hazy brightness. Norma knew that panorama: the city below, stretching to the horizon and still farther. With your forehead to the glass, you could see down to the street, to that broad avenue choked with traffic and people, with buses and moto-taxis and vegetable carts. Or life on the city's rooftops: clothes hanging on a line next to rusting chicken coops, old men playing cards on a milk crate, dogs barking angrily, teeth bared at the heavy sea air. She'd even seen a man once, sitting on his yellow hard hat, sobbing.

If Elmer saw anything now, he didn't seem interested. He turned back to them. "Not just from the jungle, Norma. From 1797."

Norma sat up straight. "What are you telling me, Elmer?"

It was one of the rumors they knew to be true: mass graves, anonymous villagers, murdered and tossed into ditches. They'd never reported it, of course. No one had. They hadn't spoken of this in years. She felt something heavy in her chest.

"It's probably nothing," Elmer said. "Let's show her the note."

From his pocket, Victor produced a piece of paper, presumably the same one he had shown the receptionist. He passed it to Elmer, who put on his reading glasses and cleared his throat. He read aloud:

Dear Miss Norma:

This child is named Victor. He is from Village 1797 in the eastern jungle. We, the residents of 1797, have pooled our monies together and sent him to the city. We want a better life for Victor. There is no future for him here. Please help us. Attached find our list of lost people. Perhaps one of these individuals will be able to care for the boy. We listen to Lost City Radio every week. We love your show.

Your biggest fans,
Village 1797

"Norma," Elmer said, "I'm sorry. We wanted to tell you ourselves. He'd be great for the show, but we wanted to warn you first."

"I'm fine." She rubbed her eyes and took a deep breath. "I'm fine."

Norma hated the numbers. Before, every town had a name; an unwieldy, millenarian name inherited from God-knows-which extinct people, names with hard consonants that sounded like stone grinding against stone. But everything was being modernized, even the recondite corners of the nation. This was all postconflict, a new government policy. They said people were forgetting the old systems. Norma wondered. "Do you know what they used to call your village?" she asked the boy.

Victor shook his head.

Norma closed her eyes for a second. He'd probably been taught to say that. When the war ended, the government confiscated the old maps. They were taken off the shelves at the National Library, turned in by private citizens, cut out of school textbooks, and burned. Norma had covered it for the radio, had mingled with the excited crowd that gathered at Newtown Plaza to watch. Once, Victor's village had a name, but it was lost now. Her husband, Rey, had vanished near there, just before the Illegitimate Legion was defeated. This was at the end of the insurrection, ten years before. She was still waiting for him.

"Are you all right, Miss Norma?" the boy asked in a small, reedy voice.

She opened her eyes.

"What a polite young man," Len said. He leaned forward, rested his elbows on the table, and patted the boy on his bald head.

Norma waited for a moment, counting to ten. She picked up the paper and read it again. The script was steady and deliberate. She pictured it: a town council gathering to decide whose penmanship was best. How folkloric. On the back was a list of names. "Our Missing," it said, the end of the g curling upward in an optimistic flourish. She couldn't bear to read them. Each was a cipher, soulless, faceless, sometime humans, a harvest of names to be read on the air. She passed the note back to Elmer. The idea of it made her inexplicably sleepy.



Continues...

Excerpted from Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcon Copyright © 2007 by Daniel Alarcon. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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