‘Lost City Radio’ is a poignant and deeply moving novel from a promising new author, which looks intensely at war’s damaging effect on society and the individual.
Ever since the civil war that took her husband ended, Norma has been the voice of consolation to a people broken by violence. Every week, bereft families listen to her radio show as she reads out the names of the missing, those who vanished in the clamour and brutality of the drawn-out conflict, with the hope of reuniting the few survivors with their families. Successes are few; her true gift is the offer of hope.
Although her face is unknown to her listeners, her name and spirit are celebrated by a wayward nation searching for a guiding force. But her life is forever changed when a young boy from a jungle village enters her radio studio and provides a connection to the husband she thought lost – the husband she has not seen for ten years since departing for the war. Her story and those tangled up in it reveal a country in flux, desperately seeking signs of life, and reasons to continue, amongst pain and uncertainty.
Stunning, timely, powerful and absolutely mesmerizing, ‘Lost City Radio’ probes the deepest questions of war: from its wide reaching affect on a society to its intimate emotional impact on every person involved. This searing yet tender first novel marks Alarcón’s emergence as a new voice in American fiction, fully-formed and ready to be heard.
Reviews of Lost City Radio
- ‘It would be wrong to give away even a shred of plot here, but it must be said that the final pages are extraordinarily haunting, managing, in a way that only great writing can, to be both tragic and wonderful. The real surprise, however, is that this is a first novel, for “Lost City Radio” is a book of extraordinary power, by a writer – recently selected as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists – whose own endless invention and send of colour are already second to none.’ Guardian
- ‘“Lost City Radio” is a gripping and tense political fable, sharply rooted in a world we have come to recognize. With echoes of Orwell and Huxley, and with images of astonishing originality, Daniel Alarcon creates a universe both menacing and tender, filled with characters imagined with skill and nuance. The scope of the narrative and the sense of urgency in the story make clear that he is one of the most exciting and ambitious writers to emerge in recent years.’ Colm Toibin, author of ‘The Master’
- ‘Daniel Alarcon writes about subterfuge, lies, and the arbitrary recreation of history with a masterful clarity. By accepting the premise that war is senseless, he goes on to make sense of the lives that are destroyed in its wake. “Lost City Radio” is both ambitious and resonant.’ Ann Patchett, author of ‘Bel Canto’
- ‘Daniel Alarcon has written a book that fully captures the slow, quiet, terror of war. From the first page, the reader like Alarcon’s characters, is captured by an uncertainty and longing that traps you in the pages of this book and makes it impossible to leave this story alone. Alarcon’s prose is quick and beautiful. This is a first novel that needs to be read.’ Uzodinma Iweala, author of ‘Beats of No Nation’