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At Night We Walk in Circles: A Novel
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Penguin Publishing Group 2013
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Description
A breathtaking, suspenseful story of one man's obsessive search to find the truth of another man's downfall, from the author of The King Is Always Above the People, which was longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction. 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.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
10/31/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781101622988
ASIN:
B00C5R7E8W
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Daniel Alarcón. (2013). At Night We Walk in Circles: A Novel. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Daniel Alarcón. 2013. At Night We Walk in Circles: A Novel. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Daniel Alarcón, At Night We Walk in Circles: A Novel. Penguin Publishing Group, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Daniel Alarcón. At Night We Walk in Circles: A Novel. Penguin Publishing Group, 2013. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Needs Update?:
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 17:04:51
Date Updated:
Dec 06, 2020 02:44:14
Last Metadata Check:
Apr 04, 2021 09:10:03
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At Night We Walk in Circles
fullDescription
A breathtaking, suspenseful story of one man's obsessive search to find the truth of another man's downfall, from the author of The King Is Always Above the People, which was longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction.
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.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        August 19, 2013
        In Alarcón’s (Lost City Radio) novel, Nelson is a young actor living in a nameless Latin American country. He is happy to learn that he has been selected to join Diciembre, a guerrilla theatre troupe. He will be performing in a politically incendiary play called The Idiot President. Accompanying him is the playwright, Henry Nuñez, who was jailed for the original production. Nelson says goodbye to his widowed mother and his girlfriend, Ixta, and embarks on his theatrical journey. In one town, Henry pays a visit to the family of his former cellmate and lover, Rogelio, and commits an incredible faux pas, which presents Nelson with the opportunity to play the part of a lifetime. He eventually returns to the city, where he finds that Ixta is pregnant by his “rival,” Mindo. What follows is a series of misunderstandings that leads to the book’s final, ironic act. Nelson’s story is told by an unnamed narrator whose intrusions telegraph that the protagonist’s story might not end well. Much of the book reads like a needlessly protracted warm-up for Nelson’s coup de théâtre, and what follows is too melodramatic for the reader to take entirely seriously. Still, Alarcón recreates the tense atmosphere of what it is like to live in a country where words have consequences. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME Entertainment.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        August 1, 2013
        A South American theater troupe revisits an anti-establishment play and generates some new drama in the latest political allegory by Alarcon (Lost City Radio, 2007). As in Lost City Radio, this novel is concerned with the aftereffects of revolution and the surprising ways revolutionary rhetoric endures. Set in an unnamed Andean country, the story centers on Nelson, an aspiring actor who lands a role with Diciembre, a theater company that's dusting off its best-known work, "The Idiot President," for a revival. As the play's title suggests, Diciembre's work wasn't subtle, but it was a touchstone 25 years previously, and its author, Henry, did time in a notoriously harsh prison for it. Henry and his colleague Patalarga take on Nelson for the tour, and though the three have an easy rapport, we know early something has gone wrong: The narrator is a reporter who's quoting everybody involved except Nelson. Alarcon's decision to frame the story as a superlong magazine story has its downsides: The novel has a tonal flatness that makes the story feel lighter than intended. But the outsider-looking-in perspective gives the narration both a sense of omniscience and intimacy, since the reporter knew the players. As the tour goes off the rails, Alarcon explores the idea of how imitation creates reality: The play's restaging revives old revolutionary feelings; Nelson obsesses over his role with the woman he left behind; and he falls into the orbit of a family who's bullied him to pretend to be a long-lost relative. In time, Nelson unwittingly becomes the target of a number of men, an absurd scenario that's shot through with tragedy. Mind who you pretend to be, Alarcon suggests; the story you tell can be a surprisingly potent one. That's true with this book, too. Though the book is low on lyricism, Alarcon successfully merges themes of art, love and politics.

        COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from October 1, 2013
        After the stunning, metropolitan sprawl of Lost City Radio (2007), Alarcn situates his riveting second novel in the backwaters of an unnamed South American nation. For Nelson, an out-of-work actor, it seems as if everyone has moved on: his one-time lover lives with another man, his brother long ago left for the U.S., and he's stuck at home with his widowed mother. But when the newly revived, controversial theater company Diciembre casts Nelson in a traveling remount of The Idiot President, he joins Patalarga, a founding member, and Henry Nuez, a playwright imprisoned during the show's original run. At first, Nelson immerses himself in the world of the play, performing in taverns and city squares, until the tour brings the trio to the hometown of Rogelio, Henry's former cellmate and confidante. Henry's past and Nelson's future converge, setting the stage for a fast-unraveling mystery of role-playing and retribution, told in compelling prose that is smart, subtle, and totally engrossing. Alarcn possesses Alejo Carpentier's gift for evocative descriptions of anonymous geography, and one sees shades of Manuel Puig in the passages that recount Henry's incarceration, both of which bode well for this native Peruvian's bright literary future.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        May 1, 2013

        At age eight, as his country descends into civil war, Nelson hears a radio interview with Henry Nunez, imprisoned after the subversive theater troupe Diciembre stages a play of his called The Idiot President. Years later, Nelson, now an aspiring actor, wins a role in Diciembre's new production of the play, during which a terrible betrayal from the past is revealed. One of The New Yorker's 20 under 40, Alarcon is being primed for a breakout with this second novel.

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        October 15, 2013

        In an unnamed South American country, now stable after much political and social upheaval, Henry Nunez, an actor and playwright who was a political prisoner, decides to reestablish his political theater troupe and tour the country. He recruits Nelson, a young actor, and Patalarga, an old friend, and they hit the road, performing Henry's play, The Idiot President, a three-character work that was originally responsible for landing Henry in jail. As the tour progresses and young Nelson is urged to live the part of his character, life and art become intermingled and confused. A first-person narrator--a magazine writer who happens upon the troupe at one of their rural stops--gradually intrudes upon this multilayered story. The basic narrative focuses on Nelson as he follows in Henry's footsteps. VERDICT This is an involving and dramatic story in a vague yet realistic landscape. PEN USA award winner Alarcon (Lost City Radio) strings the reader along expertly as he slowly complicates and shifts the perspective in this tragic tale of characters, citizens, lovers, and artists being influenced by the dangerous forces of political history and human desire. [See Prepub Alert, 4/8/13.]--James Coan, SUNY at Oneonta Lib.

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription
A breathtaking, suspenseful story of one man's obsessive search to find the truth of another man's downfall, from the author of The King Is Always Above the People.
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...
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A Novel
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Penguin Publishing Group