At Night We Walk In Circles
Finalist, 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
The breakout book from a prizewinning young writer: a breathtaking, suspenseful story of one man’s obsessive search to find the truth of another man’s downfall.
Nelson’s life is not turning out the way he hoped. His girlfriend is sleeping with another man, his brother has left their South American country, leaving Nelson to care for their widowed mother, and his acting career can’t seem to get off the ground. That is, until he lands a starring role in a touring revival of The Idiot President, a legendary play by Nelson’s hero, Henry Nunez, leader of the storied guerrilla theater troupe Diciembre. And that’s when the real trouble begins.
The tour takes Nelson out of the shelter of the city and across a landscape he’s never seen, which still bears the scars of the civil war. With each performance, Nelson grows closer to his fellow actors, becoming hopelessly entangled in their complicated lives, until, during one memorable performance, a long-buried betrayal surfaces to force the troupe into chaos.
Nelson’s fate is slowly revealed through the investigation of the narrator, a young man obsessed with Nelson’s story-and perhaps closer to it than he lets on. In sharp, vivid, and beautiful prose, Alarcón delivers a compulsively readable narrative and a provocative meditation on fate, identity, and the large consequences that can result from even our smallest choices.
About Daniel Alarcón
Daniel Alarcón, a native of Peru, was raised, from the age of 3, in Birmingham, Alabama. He earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Columbia University and a master’s from the Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop.
His first book, War by Candlelight, was a finalist for the 2006 PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award. In 2008, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, named a “Best Young American Novelist” by Granta magazine, and one of 39 under 39 Latin American Novelists. In 2010, he was also recognized by the New Yorker as one of 20 promising writers under 40.
Alarcón’s novel Lost City Radio, named a Best Novel of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Post, was published 2007, and has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Dutch, Greek, and is forthcoming in Italian, Serbian, Turkish, and Japanese. In 2009, he published a collection of short stories, El rey está siempre por encima del pueblo (The king is always above the people), and the following year, “Ciudad de payasos”, a graphic novel adapted from his 2003 story City of Clowns, with illustrations by Peruvian artist Sheila Alvarado. In 2011, with partners Carolina Guerrero, Martina Castro and Annie Correal, he founded Radio Ambulante, a Spanish language podcast telling Latin American stories. His most recent novel, At Night We Walk in Circles, was a finalist for the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award.