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The Gringa

It is 1998 and Leonora Gelb, a recent Stanford grad, has a world of opportunity open before her. But she is also an activist and a radical thinker, as mobilized as she is studious. Traveling to Peru to work for an NGO, she falls into the orbit of a Marxist guerilla group, turning the cushy world Gelb has known on its head. After a bloody government raid, Gelb is sentenced to life in a Peruvian prison, a story that breaks headlines back home even as American media outlets are at odds to explain how she has ended up there. Ten years later, the task of finding the truth falls to Andres–an American expat on a journalistic assignment to discover just who is the real Leonora. Activist or terrorist? Cold-eyed conspirator or naive puppet? In this gripping story of guerrilla warfare and self-discovery, Altschul crafts a masterful tale of the dangerous consequences of American altruism.

Andrew Altschul’s work has appeared in Esquire, McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, Best New American Voices, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and O. Henry Prize Stories. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford, he was the founding books editor at The Rumpus and is a Contributing Editor at Zyzzyva.

The Gringa bites off an impressive chunk of American—and Peruvian—history with dynamic prose. It’s an exciting addition to the literature of terrorism and revolution.” —KARAN MAHAJAN, author of The Association of Small Bombs

”What every even slightly conscious American writer is trying to figure out right now is how to write about the state of America without clambering atop a soapbox. This is the considerable achievement of Andrew Altschul’s The Gringa.” —DAVID SHIELDS, author of Reality Hunger

”An extraordinary novel…powerful and provocative, stylish and smart, culturally relevant and emotionally astute.” —MOLLY ANTOPOL, author of The Unamericans

”Utterly immersing, excoriatingly intelligent…injustice has rarely been anatomized so precisely.” —MARK SLOUKA, author of Nobody’s Son