Finalist for the 2006 PEN-Hemingway Award
"War by Candlelight is as urgent and inflamed as the urban front, but its distinction is that it never yields to the sensational or surrenders its attentiveness to intimate emotion. Daniel Alarcón chronicles vividly both the pain of exile and the entrapments of poverty and the absence of hope. His book is a thrillingly fiery debut, fierce but wrought with impressive care."
In this exquisite collection, Daniel Alarcón takes the reader from Third World urban centers to the fault lines that divide nations and people. An unrepentant terrorist remembers where it all began, a would-be emigrant contemplates the ramifications of leaving and never coming back, a reporter turns in his pad and pencil for the inglorious costume of a street clown. Wars, both national and internal, are waged in jungles, across borders, in the streets of Lima, in the intimacy of New York apartments. These are lives at the margins of the globalized and not-yet-globalized worlds, the stories of those who shuttle between them and never quite feel at home in the cities where they were born.
War by Candlelight is a devastating portrait of a world in flux, and Daniel Alarcón is an extraordinary new voice in literary fiction, one you will not soon forget.
“Alarcón’s fierce, stylish and intricate stories announce a prodigious talent. His tales build with all the power of a Flannery O'Connor story: a gentle enough start, an innocent setting, and before long the reader is adrift in a drama that defies the imagination -- with characters that live long after the book is closed.” —Washington Post Book World
“Daniel Alarcón's stories are one of the reasons we go to storytellers — they present worlds we have only imagined or heard about in less truthful and poetic ways. And Mr. Alarcón, like the best storytellers, reveals to us that the world we have secreted in our hearts spins in a bigger universe with other hearts just as good and just as bad as our own. Long before you come to the poignant words, ‘I come see you, but instead meet your absence,’ you will know what I mean.” —Edward P. Jones
“It was bound to happen: the great new Latin American voice writes in English. Daniel Alarcón's surprising and adrenaline-filled short stories not only put him immediately on the map, they turn the damn map upside down.”