jeremy's Reviews > War by Candlelight: Stories

War by Candlelight by Daniel Alarcón
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's review
Jul 05, 2012

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bookshelves: fiction, shortstories
Read in July, 2012

much as with lost city radio, the novel that followed this debut collection of short stories, i find something lacking in daniel alarcón's writing. the nine stories that make up war by candlelight are interesting enough, many with compelling plots even, yet his style of prose, perhaps best characterized as passionless, sterile, or overly restrained, detracts greatly from his storytelling. his writing nearly seems clinical, as if too many writing workshops have eroded his natural voice. that alarcón is a talented writer makes this missing component of his fiction all the more frustrating. the vigor and consequence of what should otherwise be a disarming collection is diminished by the absence of vitality in his characters and sometimes even the stories themselves. this disparity is all the more pronounced given that his aptitude for writing is so apparent. were alarcón a lesser writer war by candlelight would be little more than a mediocre work, but given his gift for imaginative tales, this collection simply suffers from a deficiency of feeling. "lima, peru, july 28, 1979" and "a science for being alone" are the book's strongest efforts.
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