Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala

By Uzodinma Iweala

Publishers Weekly Starred Review

In this lovely debut novel, Agu, a tender boy in an unnamed West African kingdom, is recruited right into a unit of guerrilla opponents as civil struggle engulfs his nation. Haunted by way of his father's personal dying by the hands of militants, which he fled prior to witnessing, Agu is liable to the damaging but paternal nature of his new commander.

While the struggle rages on, Agu turns into more and more divorced from the existence he had identified prior to the clash begun -- a lifetime of college buddies, church prone, and time together with his kin nonetheless intact. As he vividly remembers those sunnier instances, his day-by-day truth spins extra downward into inexplicable brutality, primal worry, and lack of selfhood. His dating together with his commander deepens whilst it darkens, and his camaraderie with a fellow soldier lends a misleading feel of normalcy to his experience.

In a robust, strikingly unique voice that vividly captures Agu's formative years and confusion, Uzodinma Iweala has produced a harrowing, deeply affecting novel. either a searing tackle coming-of-age and a bright record of the darkish face of warfare, Beasts of No Nation proclaims the arriving of an extaordinary new writer.

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Additional info for Beasts of No Nation

Example text

I gathered up the pages and handed them to him, not daring to meet his gaze. Don Basilio sat down at the next table and turned on the lamp. His eyes skimmed the text, betraying no emotion. Then he rested his cigar on the end of the table for a moment, glared at me, and read out the first line: Night falls on the city and the streets carry the scent of gunpowder like the breath of a curse. Don Basilio looked at me out of the corner of his eye and I hid behind a smile that didn’t leave a single tooth uncovered.

He then hugged me until there was no strength left in his arms and lay down, stretched out on the floor with the hypodermic needle still stuck in his skin. I pulled out the needle and covered him with a blanket. After that, he began to lock himself in. We lived in a small attic suspended over the building site of the new auditorium, the Palau de la Música. It was a cold, narrow place in which wind and humidity seemed to mock the walls. I used to sit on the tiny balcony with my legs dangling out, watching people pass by and gazing at the battlement of weird sculptures and columns that was growing on the other side of the street.

And you’ll be right to do so, because you’re not a journalist and you never will be. But you’re not a crime novelist yet, even if you think you are. ” At that moment, my guard down, I was so overwhelmed by gratitude that I wanted to hug that great bulk of a man. Don Basilio, his fierce mask back in place, gave me a steely look and pointed toward the door. “No scenes, please. Close the door. ” … The following Monday, when I arrived at the editorial room ready to sit at my own desk for the very first time, I found a coarse gray envelope with a ribbon and my name on it in the same recognizable type that I had been typing out for years.

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