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 is the author of Beasts of No Nation, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, and the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2007 he was selected as one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists. A graduate of Harvard University and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, he lives in New York City and Abuja, Nigeria.