Fort Collins Author Releases Novel Inspired by US Aid Worker in Peru

The Gringa, by Andrew Altschul.

THE GRINGA, by Andrew Altschul, is set in Peru during the 1990s and 2000s. Inspired by the real-life story of Lori Berenson, who spent fifteen years in a military prison following her conviction on terrorist charges, it is the story of Leonora Gelb, a U.S. aid worker, Stanford graduate, and child of privilege who gets involved with leftist militants in the volatile years after Peru’s “dirty war” against the Shining Path.

Narrated ten years later by an expatriate, failed novelist, and “refugee from George W. Bush’s America,” who has accepted a magazine assignment to write Leonora’s story, the novel juxtaposes Peru’s struggles against revolutionary violence with the U.S.’s own “War on Terror,” asking complicated questions about activism, resistance, identity, and the rights of artists (or anyone) to speak for the Other.

Testimonials:

“Altschul’s ambitious and culturally aware novel is a captivating depiction of passion, disenchantment, and hope gone violently awry.” (Booklist, starred review)

“Psychologically rich and closely observed.. A sensitive portrayal of the search for meaning in an unforgiving world.” (Kirkus)

“What every American writer is trying to figure out right now is how to write about the state of America without clambering atop a soapbox, to confront the various ways in which U.S. innocence and ‘idealism’ are in the service, finally, of detachment and terror. Such is the not inconsiderable achievement of The Gringa.”

—  David Shields, author of Reality Hunger

“The Gringa is an extraordinary novel – powerful and provocative, stylish and smart, culturally relevant and emotionally astute. I loved this book.”

—  Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans

“Utterly immersing, excoriatingly intelligent… injustice has rarely been anatomized so precisely. The word is ‘masterpiece.’”

—  Mark Slouka, author of Nobody’s Son

 

 

Andrew Altschul is the author of the novels Lady Lazarus (2008) and Deus Ex Machina (2011). His work has appeared in Esquire, McSweeney’s, The Wall Street Journal, PloughsharesFenceOne Story, and other publications, and in anthologies including Best American Nonrequired Reading, Best New American Voices, and O. Henry Prize Stories. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford, he has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers Conferences, the Ucross Foundation, the Fundación Valparaíso, and the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center. From 2009-2015, he directed the Center for Literary Arts at San Jose State University. He currently directs the Creative Writing program at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins.

“If justice cannot be made to operate under the worst possible conditions of social hysteria, what does it matter how it operates at other times?”

– E.L. Doctorow, “The Book of Daniel”

www.andrewaltschul.com

“If justice cannot be made to operate under the worst possible conditions of social hysteria, what does it matter how it operates at other times?”

– E.L. Doctorow, “The Book of Daniel”

www.andrewaltschul.com

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