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.