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Finalist, 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

The breakout book from a prizewinning young writer: a breathtaking, suspenseful story of one man's obsessive search to find the truth of another man's downfall.

Nelson's life is not turning out the way he hoped. His girlfriend is sleeping with another man, his brother has left their South American country, leaving Nelson to care for their widowed mother, and his acting career can't seem to get off the ground. That is, until he lands a starring role in a touring revival of The Idiot President, a legendary play by Nelson's hero, Henry Nunez, leader of the storied guerrilla theater troupe Diciembre. And that's when the real trouble begins.

The tour takes Nelson out of the shelter of the city and across a landscape he's never seen, which still bears the scars of the civil war. With each performance, Nelson grows closer to his fellow actors, becoming hopelessly entangled in their complicated lives, until, during one memorable performance, a long-buried betrayal surfaces to force the troupe into chaos.

Nelson's fate is slowly revealed through the investigation of the narrator, a young man obsessed with Nelson's story-and perhaps closer to it than he lets on. In sharp, vivid, and beautiful prose, Alarcón delivers a compulsively readable narrative and a provocative meditation on fate, identity, and the large consequences that can result from even our smallest choices.

One Book One Marin Selection Process

Since its inception, One Book One Marin has opened the annual selection process to its committee members - attempting to cast a wide net to garner opinions and thought from as many community representatives as possible. The committee, comprised of one representative from each local library and community partner, has adapted the following criteria for the book selection:


The book raises issues which are worthy of discussion and are of interest to a wide variety of Marin County Residents

2. The book is readily available in paperback and in English
3. The book will be carried in Spanish, if available

To date, the committee has chosen books by authors who live in the Bay Area and have generously shared their time, speaking at two or more events. It is the committee's hope to chose authors who will continue to be generous with their time for One Book One Marin.

One Book One Marin wishes to raise library awareness and utilization and to build community through the act of reading a common book. Submissions for consideration are appreciated, as the selection process begins in the Spring of each year, with the official announcement of the title and author to be released in December.