Kristin Luna
January 26, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

In Daniel Alarcón’s Lost City Radio, in an unnamed South American country racked by civil war, Norma, whose husband Rey disappeared without a trace a decade before, uses a radio show to reunite separated survivors. Her therapeutic voice reaches the depths of the jungle, including an isolated village called 1797. But when a timid 11-year-old boy from 1797 appears at the radio station, Norma’s situation becomes more complicated as evidence of Rey’s second life begins to surface. As this unlikely duo seek clues to their muddled, yet oddly related pasts, Alarcón’s novel eloquently fuses passion, violence, and societal trepidation at offending the ruling party. A-

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