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28

THURSDAY

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Author Daniel Alarcón doesn’t write like a tourist. His beat is global, specifically the war-torn, schizo territories where an ever-present civil war serves as background noise and some kill in order to be heard. Or at least throw a rock, which sets off the story “Flood” in Alarcón’s new collection, War by Candlelight. Alarcón doesn’t dwell in irony or tricks (see any Foer or White Teeth) or linger over the lusciousness of mangoes or banquet spreads (see The God of Small Things). Instead he devotes sentences to people stringing up dogs, Peruvian street kids hovering around a bag of glue, and New York City kids spotting a dead body and lingering long enough to note the plastic bag caught on the man’s foot. The kids he writes about flicker between violence and wussing out. They are too bored or too poor or too young. And Alarcón is too assured a writer for any such clichés. See him get into the muck when he reads at 6:30 p.m. at the Inter-American Development Bank, 1300 New York Ave. NW. (Event sponsored by Olsson’s Books and Records.) Free. (202) 623-3558.