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Lost City Radio

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,878 Ratings  ·  307 Reviews
A powerful and searing novel of three lives fractured by a civil war

For ten years, Norma has been the voice of consolation for a people broken by violence. She hosts Lost City Radio, the most popular program in their nameless South American country, gripped in the aftermath of war. Every week, the Indians in the mountains and the poor from the barrios listen as she reads
ebook, 288 pages
Published January 30th 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2007)
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Tea Jovanović
Ovo je jedna knjiga koja čitaoca baca u potpunu nedoumicu šta da misli... Nametnuta mi je na uređenje (nije bila moj izbor), ja je nikad ne bih objavila jer mi nije jasno kome je i čemu namenjena, a opet nije loše napisana... baš me zanima da li ju je neko od vas čitao, i šta vi mislite?

malo teksta:


Normu su povukli s programa tog utorka ujutru zbog jednog dečaka koji je ostavljen u radio-stanici. Bio je tih i mršav i držao je cedulju. Recepcionerka ga je pustila da prođe. Sazvan je sastanak.
Book Concierge
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: orphans
In an unnamed city in an unnamed South American country, Norma is the beloved on-air host of “Lost City Radio,” where the nation’s lost and tormented souls try to reconnect with loved ones they’ve lost track of. It is ten years since the most recent civil war ended – at least officially. But people still live in fear of reprisal and even Norma’s show isn’t immune to the sort of self-censorship that comes from self-preservation. Norma’s husband is among the missing, and she daren’t read his name ...more
Feb 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Faşizmin, dünyanın neresi olduğu hiç farketmeden aynı senaryoları yazması ne garip! Güney Amerika'nın adı verilmeyen bir ülkesinde yaşanan iç savaş sırasında yakınlarını kaybeden insanların bağlandığı bir radyo programı üzerinden dönen hikayede, hep geçmişte ve bugün bu ülkede yaşadıklarımızı okur gibi oldum. Kitabın söyledikleri ve duruşuyla ilgili bir sorun yok ama edebi olarak biraz ruhsuz, mekanik bir metin olduğunu düşünüyorum. Bu sebepten elimde tahmin etmediğim kadar uzun süre kaldı. Arka ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a vivid story, intensely described. I love the way the same forward narrative direction is proceeding simultaneously from two times a decade apart. For a random selection, this turned out to be a very good choice.
Jun 02, 2008 marked it as left-unfinished  ·  review of another edition
I've gotten 56 pages into it so far and have nothing to complain about, which is unusual for me. I don't think of it as having a sci-fi atmosphere, as some readers suggest. Though it does have the dystopian bearings of books like 1984 and We, those worlds are all too recognizable and easy to identify with. No flying cars or talking robots here. What the book does have is clean, evocative language that creates a vivid and foreign landscape. And no, Alarcon doesn't sprinkle in Spanish words to rem ...more
Apr 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
So beautiful and sad. The main character, Norma, lives in the capital city of an unnamed Latin American country experiencing an uneasy peace after the end of a decade-long civil war. Norma--or rather, her voice--is a kind of national icon because of her radio show, to which listeners call and tell her about their friends and family who have disappeared in the war, in the hopes that they're alive and will hear. Norma is somewhat disillusioned with the show, but continues partly out of her own una ...more
Oct 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daniel Alarcon does a remarkable job of putting the reader in the environment of a country that has been at war with itself for so long that the people have lost touch with themselves. What happens to a man when a teenaged prank is mistaken as revolutionary action and alters his life forever? What happens to a newsperson who goes on the air each week but can't report the news? How are people changed psychologically when they never know where the next blow will come from, when there is no logic t ...more
Mar 30, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
like a friendship that would otherwise be a great romance, this novel has everything but the spark. intelligence, imagination, beauty, empathy, promise, even poise, yet swoon i could not (despite attempts to convince myself that i should have enjoyed it more than i did). alarcón is clearly quite talented, and, considering his relative youth, perhaps lost city radio is but a harbinger of the many exceptional, more finely honed works he seems capable of creating.
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No me gustó tanto como su otra novela, At Night We Walk In Circles, pero me aguantó la atención mientras que viajé por Irlanda.

El cuento principalmente se trata de Norma, una deejay trabajando en la ultima emisora que queda en un país suramericano sin nombre. Norma perdió su marido hace diez años al final de la guerra civil que quebró mucho de la sociedad civil en el país. (La nueva dictadura hasta reemplazó los nombres de las ciudades con números.) De pronto aparece un niño de la selva que tie
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Norma is a popular radio announcer renowned for a program called Lost City Radio, which tries to match up the many, many missing people of the country with those still living and within listening range. One of the places that listens to her show is a town by the name of 1797, where Norma's own husband disappeared, and which determines to send a emissary to Norma with the names of all their missing - a list which includes her husband's name. The emissary is a young boy, who's very recently lost h ...more
I am not a subscriber. Alarcon has talent and I sympathize with his politics; but something was missing from "Lost City Radio." Perhaps the characters were just a bit too similar; perhaps the all-pervasive traumatized vacancy offered too little traction or perhaps everything was knit together just a bit too tightly. The novel needed to surge somehow, in some direction or around something; but it lingered and reminisced; at most, it brooded.

"The war had bred a general exhaustion. It was a city of
Tom Mayer
Aug 19, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of good fiction
I remember reading this in early bound galley form so there may have been changes between my edition and the final, published version. I initially soght out Alarcón's work because I learned that he was friends with friends from school who now lived in San Francisco. His short stories -- from the NYer, Tin House, etc. -- are taught and vivid (cf. WAR BY CANDLELIGHT). This first full length novel is about Norma, who hosts a radio program hoping to reunite those uprooted and disappeared in an unnam ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I liked the general premise of this book and the setting. What I didn't like was that there was a constant back and forth in time, for different characters, to different time periods. A civil war is chaotic; perhaps this is what the author was trying to convey. But sometimes the time regressions and back were in the same paragraph. It was very tiring reading and by about halfway I didn't really care much any more. I was perfectly happy reading the last page, not because I liked the ending which ...more
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book emphasizes the meaninglessness of war. Those who fight as well as those left behind are all tragic victims who suffer. This is a thought provoking book, esp in our present days of Arab spring, conflicts, revolutions & threatened uprisings. Some favorite quotes: "What does the end of a war mean if not that one side ran out of men willing to die?"....."a man handsome and vapid enough to be elected senator"....."The soldiers had spread about the room like ivy"....."In the local dialec ...more
The book takes place in a nameless war-torn country in South America where the country is in a sense, united by those they have lost. In Alarcon's novel, neither faction is strictly right or wrong, rather he writes about the senselessness of war and the lives that are affected.

I enjoyed the book and thought it a good read, though perhaps not mind blowing. And although written about a South American country, the themes are relevant to our particular time and place.
Alex Fernie
Jun 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exceptionally well-written...The story revolves around three people in an unnamed South American country that was torn apart by a recent civil war. Alarcon uses the story of these three to show how war can continue to destroy lives even after the shooting stops.
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stories and parallel structure are great, narrative is fascinating.
A bit difficult to engage in the begining, but the shift in tempo from the present and future back and forth is very attractive.
I recommend this book.
Elliott Turner
3.5 stars. This is good! On an emotional level, pushed all the right buttons. If Lituma en los Andes pulled back a curtain on the horror of the Sendero Luminoso in the Peruvian jungle, then this showed a portrait of Lima, the capital, as the Sendero got close, attacked and failed. It's a roman a clef, but you'd have to be super dense to not recognize the coastal LatAm city.

There were a few times where the POV got fuzzy and the author headhopped between paragraphs with flashbacks. Also, Danny wr
Carl R.
Not far into Daniel Alarcon’s Lost City Radio I began to have negative thoughts. I’d been so impressed by the brilliance of his debut short story
collection War by Candlelight (see my comments from April 25, 2007) that I wanted more brilliance and was not finding it. The tale seemed to wander, seemed to lack the taut focus of most of Candlelight’s stories. I wondered if this wasn’t another example of a short story craftsman defeated by the demands of the novel form. Though disappointed, I forged
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In an unnamed country in South America, struggling to heal after a civil war that seemed endless, a radio program called Lost City Radio gathers the nation together once a day. It is hosted by Norma whose voice both eloquent and empathetic, tells the news of the day interspersed with musical interludes, but most importantly Norma reads lists of names which people send her of those who have disappeared or are lost. They hope that by reading these names on the radio they will be able to find their ...more
Peruvian born Daniel Alarcon is a newer name in fiction (first full length book) and definitely one to keep an eye on after reading "Lost City Radio." The author tells the story of some unnamed S. American country in the midst of a guerrilla warfare -- between the government military and some freedom - based uprising group named the I.L. When he writes his prose is very beautiful, there's a fluidity to his style but still it lacked any sort of weight; also he asked too many rhetorical questions ...more
Erin Van Rheenen
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been a fan of Latin American fiction since I discovered Gabriel García Márquez in the early 80s, and have tried to keep up with what's happening in that very broad category over the years, from Reinaldo Arenas in Cuba (Before Night Falls) to Chilean Roberto Bolaño and his The Savage Detectives (both of which I liked a lot). I like that Latin American authors are often more inventive and politically engaged than most North American writers.

But often I've been disappointed by pale imitations
Ryan Louis
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top25fiction
"She had been here just the day before, but this is what life does to you: things happen all at once, and your sense of time is exploded."

I wish someone gave me this quotation before I started reading this book. I paused before quoting it here...only because I feared it might be a philosophical spolier. When Alarcon writes it on page 245, it seems somewhat anticlimactic. I mean, I've now spent 97% of the novel whisking through time and space in a somewhat fictionalized, not-so-anonymous country
Feb 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
Very well done. Captures well the feelings of loss and futility of people caught up in the civil war of an unnamed Latin American country.
Norma is a brodcaster on whose radio show people call in with the names of those with show they've lost contact in the hopes that they will be listening and reunited. Norma herself has lost her husband without knowing how or even whether he is alive. One day, a young boy arrives at the station and his story fills in a large gap in her life.
Only one character i
Jun 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Evocative story about a war between a fascist government and a vague guerrilla movement in an unnamed country in an unnamed era. The lead character is the host of a radio show (thus the title) who reads the names of people who have disappeared or been disappeared during the war. She is handed lists of names in the city markets, people call from distant villages, illiterate people walk to the radio station to tell Norma the names of their missing, in hopes that she will read the names over the a ...more
Jan 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Yofish by: Smithsonian Special on young innovators
Shelves: read-fiction
A story of a civil war in an unnamed Latin American country. Jumps back and forth in time a lot, and deals mostly with the aftermath (up to 10 years after the war has 'ended'--but part of the point is that it's hard to measure beginnings and endings of these things). "Lost City Radio" refers to a radio show by the main character (Norma), who has people call in and describe/discuss their loved ones who have disappeared for one reason or another, and whom they're hoping to reconnect with. Her husb ...more
Mar 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-to-z-project
A to Z Project, Book 6
Years of war and fear of speaking out have left the survivors in a detached, dreamlike state in Alarcon's powerful novel. Particularly powerful is the device of Lost City Radio, a program that one of the characters hosts where listeners call in and talk lovingly of all the people they've lost. When a boy turns up at the station with a list of names that includes her husband's alias, host Norma begins a search that centers on a small town, a town renamed 1796 by a government
Francisco Cardona
One of the best things I've read in years. A story not of missing people, but of missing pieces in people's lives. How does a country continue when there has been so much death and destruction that has devastated their lives? Lost City Radio is testament of what people will do to imagine something to fill those holes that have been created. It's a tragic work of art, not because of the disappeared, but because of the world where imagination fails us. The living are the missing, like a character ...more
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muy bueno, mucho mejor de lo que esperaba. Me dijeron con frecuencia lo bueno que es Alarcón, pero la verdad es que temía que fuera como uno más de esos autores a quienes de cuando en cuando llaman por aquí "el nuevo Vargas LLosa"; en mi opinión les hacen un flaco favor, por cierto. El estilo de Alarcón es muy limpio, propio, ha logrado retratar una sociedad marcada por el horror que como peruana sobreviviente de las épocas más oscuras de nuestra historia me resulta muy familiar, pero creo que p ...more
Shannon Barry
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the ending felt a bit rushed to me (probably because I didn't want the story to end), I found this novel complete in nearly every sense. It is a beautiful tale of the dead and undead of war that evokes a lot of emotion and possibility for discussion. The characters are all likeable, even with their flaws, as you get intimate inside glimpses of their world that really allow you to understand the torment they endured which led to their "bad" decisions. This book is all heart, which shines ...more
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California Reads: What are you discovering? 1 2 Feb 27, 2012 05:33PM  
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Daniel Alarcón’s fiction and nonfiction have been published in The New Yorker, Harper's, Virginia Quarterly Review, Salon, Eyeshot and elsewhere. He is Associate Editor of Etiqueta Negra, an award-winning monthly magazine based in his native Lima, Peru. His story collection, War by Candlelight, was a finalist for the 2006 PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award, and the British journal Granta recently name ...more
More about Daniel Alarcón...

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“Nothing builds community like complaining.” 7 likes
“What does the end of a war mean if not that one side ran out of men willing to die?” 5 likes
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