King is always above the people

The King Is Always Above the People: Stories

Washington Post review:

“These stories explore immigration, family loyalty and redemption. Alarcón throws his characters into high-stakes situations to draw out humanity where it seems little hope is left.”

Featured in Washington Post’s 50 Notable Fiction Books of 2017.

NPR review:

“In his second story collection, Daniel Alarcón delivers 10 enthralling tales on migration, lost love and broken families – people who are perpetually on the outside looking in.”

Featured in NPR’s Book Concierge Great Reads of 2017.

Aggregated customer review rating:

4.2 out of 5.0

Ranked 138th in Books

Ranked 39th in Fiction

$ 15

The King Is Always Above the People is a collection of short stories about immigration, broken dreams, Los Angeles gang members, Latin American families, and other tales of high stakes journeys. This comes from the award-winning author of War by Candlelight and At Night We Walk in Circles, Daniel Alarcó. This novel has been longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award For Fiction.

Daniel brings up themes such as doomed love, betrayal, family secrets, uncertain futures and migration. Some of these story plots include people are on the move and forging new paths in such as in “The Thousands”, a man dealing with the fallout of his blind relatives’ mysterious deaths and his father’s mental breakdown and incarceration in “The Bridge” and a gang member discovering a way to forgiveness and redemption through the haze of violence and trauma in “The Ballad of Rocky Rontal.”

The collection also includes the tour de force novella, “The Auroras”, in which a man severs himself from his old life, seeking to make a new one in a new city, only to find himself seduced and controlled by a powerful woman. These are only a few of the dramas contained within the pages of The King Is Always Above the People.

The praise for this collection of stories has been pouring in, including this review from NPR:

“Alarcón is an empathic observer of the isolated human, whether isolated by emigration or ambition, blindness or loneliness, poverty or war. His stories have a reporter’s mix of kindness and detachment, and perhaps as a result, his endings land like a punch in the gut. . . .He’s a brilliant stylist, and there are plenty of moments in this collection where he’s happy to flex. . . Alarcón writes about them with a grayscale beauty that few writers can achieve, or try to. His purpose isn’t to approve or condemn, or to liberate. He’s writing to show us other people’s lives, and in every case, it’s a pleasure to be shown.”

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