by Robert Birnbaum
Politics can be dangerous in some parts of Africa, but childhood can be even more risky. A conversation with Uzodinma Iweala about what’s breaking the continent apart—and what’s holding it together.
Consider these comments on Uzodinma Iweala’s debut novel by two accomplished novelists. Amitav Ghosh proclaims it a “work of visceral urgency…it heralds the arrival of a major talent.” And Ali Smith: “In the writing, Beasts of No Nation is totally and shockingly alive from its very first paragraph.” Agu, a young boy in an unidentified West African country, is conscripted into a rag-tag group of fighters in his nation’s civil war after fleeing his home—this before he witnesses his father’s murder at the hands of militants. The split between his harrowing reality and recollections of his former life underscores the darkness enveloping a young boy’s coming-of-age against the savage backdrop of war…
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