Painful family ties and memories of war perambulate through this new novel about art and history by Daniel Alarcón, an emerging author whose Spanish-language “Radio Ambulante” podcast spotlights individuals’ stories in their own words (sort of like “This American Life”). Informed by uncanny insights into human nature—no doubt also gleaned from his journalism for Harper’s on the Peruvian prison system—Alarcón’s prose in At Night We Walk in Circles courses forward swiftly and crisply. For the reader, this style brings waves of mounting dread, disorientation and the urge to read more. Nelson is a young actor in an unnamed South American country trying to find its bearings after years of political upheaval, but his dreams of an American acting career get derailed with the death of his father. He joins, instead, a radical theater group called Diciembre whose lead actor and playwright was once jailed for the play The Idiot President—the very work they now seek to revive. The more deeply Nelson becomes involved with the troupe, and the further he journeys with them through his devastated national landscape, the more firmly his fate is sealed. Alarcón heads to Burque next week to discuss his breakout novel on Friday, Nov. 8, at Bookworks (4022 Rio Grande NW)—catch him for free starting at 5:30pm.