City Paper is not for tourists
If you read only one allegorical novel this year that was written by a guy named Daniel and discusses strife and “disappearances” in an anonymous land, the book you want is Daniel Alarcon‘s Lost City Radio. Feel like reading two? You could do worse than A Far Country by Daniel Mason, who reads at Politics and Prose tonight.
Mason never details exactly where his story is set, but between the sugarcane and the shades of magical realism, it’s hard not to read it as a South American story. Mason’s word choices point you in that direction as well, and if the novel feels undercooked as a narrative, it has a tremendous vocabulary. Ripping clean an idea from News & Observer reporter John Murawski, who logged the interesting words he came across while reading Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road, I kept a similar list going while reading A Far Country. Read it after the jump.
antwren (a South American bird) bromeliad (a pineapple-like plant) caiman (Central and South American reptile) canebrake (growth of cane plants) caravel (a type of ship) carmine (red pigment) fer-de-lance (a tropical American viper) lanugo (fine hair) manioc (cassava) mucosa (mucous membrane) murrain (cattle disease) rhabdomancer (dowser) rhea (South American bird) ringstraked (archaic form of ring-streaked) rowel (the pointed wheel of a spur) serrying (crowding) threnodial (funereal) tlingaling (onomatopoeia for the sound of cowbell) zebu (a kind of ox)