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Beasts of No Nation (P.S.)by Uzodinma Iweala
Told from the perspective of Agu, a child soldier in an unnamed West African war zone, Iweala somehow manages to create a strikingly intriguing coming-of-age tale that simultaneously explores some of the darkest moral abysses imaginable. Agu's halting English diction guides us through this modern wasteland, and his palpable confusion and terror force the reader to confront each successive act of violence with no lessening of visceral impact. A quick read, but one that will be dwelt on for a long time after.
See Africa through the words of a gifted young writer named Uzodinma Iweala, whose debut novel, Beasts of No Nation, exposes the genocide plaguing that continent in a car-crash voice that won't let you turn away.
Synopses & Reviews
In this stunning debut novel, Agu, a young boy in an unnamed West African nation, is recruited into a unit of guerrilla fighters as civil war engulfs his country. Haunted by his father's own death at the hands of militants, which he fled just before witnessing, Agu is vulnerable to the dangerous yet paternal nature of his new commander.
While the war rages on, Agu becomes increasingly divorced from the life he had known before the conflict started — a life of school friends, church services, and time with his family still intact. As he vividly recalls these sunnier times, his daily reality spins further downward into inexplicable brutality, primal fear, and loss of selfhood. His relationship with his commander deepens even as it darkens, and his camaraderie with a fellow soldier lends a deceptive sense of normalcy to his experience.
In a powerful, strikingly original voice that vividly captures Agu's youth and confusion, Uzodinma Iweala has produced a harrowing, deeply affecting novel. Both a searing take on coming-of-age and a vivid document of the dark face of war, Beasts of No Nation announces the arrival of an extaordinary new writer.
"Iweala's handling of language...acts almost as an anaesthetic, allowing you to see what's being shown here." Seattle Times
"An American of Nigerian descent, Iweala graphically details Agu's atrocities, but never fails to relay, with aching poetry, the most shocking act of all — an unwilling child plunged into the physical horrors of war." Boston Globe
"All we are knowing about Mr. Iweala is that his book will be readily embraced by readers. Its nuances may not be subtle, but its nobility is impossible to miss." Janet Maslin, New York Times
Agu, a young boy in an unnamed West African nation, is recruited into a unit of guerrilla fighters as civil war engulfs his country. In a powerful, strikingly original debut that vividly captures Agu's youth and confusion, Iweala has produced a harrowing, deeply affecting novel.
About the Author
Uzodinma Iweala was born in 1982 in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Harvard University, where he was a Mellon Mays Scholar and received a number of prizes for his writing, including the Eager Prize, the Horman Prize, the Le Baron Briggs Prize, and the Hoopes Prize, awarded for outstanding undergraduate thesis. He lives in New York City.
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