Lost City Radio

Winner of the 2009 International Literature Prize and the 2008 PEN USA Novel Award
Named a 2007 Best Book of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle, Financial Times, Washington Post, and Chicago Tribune
"[Alarcón's] words express, eloquently and exactly, the self-destructiveness of violent insurgency and official retaliation. 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."
— Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post

A nameless, timeless South American country slowly emerges from a war everyone would prefer to forget. For ten years, Norma has been the voice of consolation for a people broken by violence, while hiding her own personal loss: her husband disappeared at the end of the war. Norma’s radio program is the most popular in the country, and every week the Indians in the mountains and poor of 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.

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 with them for years.


Lost City Radio is a book of extraordinary power...[Alarcón's] endless invention and sense of colour are already second to none.” —The Guardian
“Remarkable...Lost City Radio is a bravura performance.” —Los Angeles Times
“Big ideas broached from unexpected angles, an apprehension of the human condition and every sentence constructed like a Stradivarius… reading Alarcón feels like witnessing the arrival of a John Steinbeck or Gabriel García Márquez.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune