The Gringa

Andrew Altschul (Author)


A gripping and subversive novel about the tragic consequences of American idealism and the slippery nature of the truth.

It is 1998 and Leonora Gelb, a passionate and idealistic Stanford grad, is determined to make a difference. While working in the slums of Lima, Peru, she falls into the orbit of a Marxist revolutionary group; when they are eventually captured, Gelb is sentenced to life in a Peruvian prison.

Ten years later, Andres--an aimless American expat novelist--is asked to write a journalistic profile of "La Leo." In flight from problems of his own, he struggles to understand Leonora, to reconstruct her involvement with the militants, and to chronicle Peru's violent history. Is the real Leo an activist or a terrorist? Cold-eyed conspirator or na ve puppet?

Inspired by the dramatic events surrounding controversial American activist Lori Berenson, Andrew Altschul's moving new novel maps the blurred boundaries between fact and fiction, author and text, passion and violence. It is a coming-of-age story, a political thriller--and a love letter to a troubled nation.

Product Details

Price: $27.99  $25.19
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Published Date: March 10, 2020
Pages: 432
Dimensions: 6.2 X 1.6 X 9.1 inches | 1.4 pounds
ISBN: 9781612198224
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Andrew Altschul is the author of the novels Lady Lazarus and Deus Ex Machina. His 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 University, he was the founding books editor at The Rumpus and is a Contributing Editor at Zyzzyva. He teaches at Colorado State University.


"Challenges the boundaries between activism and insurrection, fiction and reality ... Altschul's ambitious and culturally aware novel is a captivating depiction of passion, disenchantment, and hope gone violently awry." --Booklist STARRED Review

"Psychologically rich and closely observed ... A sensitive portrayal of the search for meaning in an unforgiving world." --Kirkus

"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