Daniel Alarcon is one of the upcoming novelists of Peru and was featured on The New Yorker’s “20 under 40”. His new novel “At Night We Walk in Circles” is a tragicomic novel that explores the problems that Peruvians and people at large experience. It is about a theater troupe that faces a number of misadventures while they tour the Andes Mountains. Being an American too, he refuses to be classified either as an American or a Peruvian writer.
He asks why he should choose either of the classifications anyway. His characters reveal the deeply troubled history of Peru, which has included civil wars, political turmoil, poverty, militarization and of course, the vastness of the Andes.
In all their hardships and difficulties, his characters are as human as they get. The New Yorker describes his writings as dark, haunting and noir. The revered magazine suggests that he uses the conventions of pulp fiction and other postmodern techniques with the Latin American political novel.
He writes in English as well as in Spanish and it is this gift of bilingualism that has given him his gift of understanding Latin American culture from the point of view of an insider, who is not marred by the rose-tinted and short-sighted nationalism that often plagues writers who write singularly in one language.
In spite of being the son of a psychiatrist, having studied in a private school and having lived in the pristine American suburbs, he still is assumed to be an illegal immigrant from Latin America, a stereotype that many Latinos face even today in the U.S.A.
Peruvian writers in the U.S. often have not achieved mainstream success like Daniel has. If Daniel continues to write about Peru in a way that shows the reality of the nation and its culture, it will prove to be more informational than many travelogues. It is indeed said that fiction is the best way to learn about a country.
Via: New York Times