Paperback / softback
March 26, 2008
.45 Pounds (US)
$22.95 USD
v2.1 Reference

Corner of the Dead

This powerful novel depicts the reign of violence perpetrated in Peru in the 1980s by the Shining Path guerrillas, a Maoist-based organization, and the subsequent authoritarian counterattack by the Peruvian government. It explores these horrific events through the eyes of a young American photojournalist and humanitarian worker, Lisette, who bears witness to the genocide of the Peruvian Indians in whose village she has chosen to live.

"I use the camera to block my view," says Lisette. This is the start of her double vision—trying to forget and trying to recall—and her struggle to come to terms with the human capacity for cruelty. But the grim reality in Peru is so overpowering that she carries it with her back to New York and through the rest of her life. Having abandoned a lover along with the fight, she desperately tries to find meaning beyond that of mere survival.

About the Author

Lynn Lurie, a New York City resident, is an attorney with an MA in international affairs and an MFA in writing. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador and currently volunteers as a translator and administrator on medical trips to South America that provide surgery free of charge to children.


"An extraordinary account of one woman's journey into hell and how she brought it back with her. Written in Lynn Lurie's wonderful exact prose, this book small in size, and enormous in content, a dizzying look at appalling horrors, a terrifying depiction of what human beings are capable of doing to each other, an investigation into the worth of a human life. Corner of the Dead is a very moving, gutsy, urgent book."—Edward Carey, author of Observatory Mansions

"Corner of the Dead is keen and passionate—a sexually alive elegy. Lurie's hypnotic language is as subversive as Seuss in its indictment of racism, bullies, and demigods. A stunning debut."—Fran Gordon, author of Paisley Girl

"In this haunting, powerful novel, Lynn Lurie explores not only 'the corner of the dead,' but that entire shadowy no-man's-land where the dead and those who remember them—or more accurately, those who cared enough to try to save them—play out the elemental trauma of their shared experience. Lurie's strong, spare prose will stay with you long after the reading; the truths she tells of life and death in one of the hardest places on earth will stay with you even longer."—Ben Fountain, author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara: Stories

"Corner of the Dead has the indelible feeling of a dream you can't shake, a terror made beautiful. It moves by sensation, association, with great fluidity and urgency."—Noy Holland, author of What Begins with Bird: Fictions

"Lynn Lurie's report about political aberration and organized cruelty is an eloquent appeal for compassion for and solidarity with their victims."—Elie Wiesel

"In her first novel, Lurie tells the chilling story of a woman's struggle to overcome the horror she's witnessed working in violent 1980s Peru. American photojournalist Lisette, her heart set on helping Peruvian citizens terrorized by the Shining Path guerrillas, does her best as a humanitarian worker to understand and protect her fellow villagers. Wracked with dismay and guilt, Lisette's good intentions don't always go as far as she would hope, and she finds herself powerless to stop her friends and neighbors from being captured or butchered. As the novel unfolds, Lisette finds love amidst the bloodshed in her housemate Karl, but a shifting chronology sees Lisette back in America with a husband and children, seemingly unable to cope with all she's witnessed. Lurie's haunting debut is a spare, confident look at third world tragedy and the complex, conflicting reactions it spurs in well-meaning citizens of the first world."—Publishers Weekly
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Juniper Prize for Poetry

9781558496545 : corner-of-the-dead-lurie
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