One of my goals for 2008 is to read my way around the world by looking for novels set in far away places and written by international authors. One of my favorite so far has been Lost City Radio, by Daniel Alarcon.
Set in an unnamed South American country recovering from a bitter civil war, Lost City Radio is both a mesmerizing tale of loss and eloquent commentary on the repercussions of war. Norma is a radio news journalist with the most trusted and well-loved voice in the country. Each week, she hosts a wildly popular program called Lost City Radio. All over the country, Indians in the rural mountains and the poor people living in the barrios tune in to hear Norma read the names of their missing. Throughout the war and after, hundreds and thousands of refugees had come to the city and lost touch with their families. Hearing their names on the air and longing to be found, the "lost" call in to the station and are reunited on air with their loved ones. None of Norma's listeners know that among the missing is her husband, Rey, who disappeared at the end of the war.
This story grips you from the very beginning when Victor, an eleven-year-old orphan mysteriously shows up at the radio station with a list of the missing from his village. The list contains a clue to the whereabouts of Norma's missing husband.
Daniel Alarcon is originally from Peru, but lived in Birmingham as a boy when his family first came to the United States. Although the setting of Lost City Radio is fictitious, there are many similarities to recent historical events in Peru, Argentina, and Chile.
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This review was written by Anna Ellis. Anna is an intern at Homewood Library this Spring. She is currently completing her Master of Library & Information Science at U of A and hopes to be a Children's Librarian in a public library. Anna is originally from Washington DC.
Thanks Anna! We'll miss you!