Indie Next ListJanuary 2014
Beah's lush and beautiful prose draws the reader into a story both devastating and uplifting. What happens after true evil destroys a country? In A Long Way Gone Beah wrote a moving memoir about the carnage in his native Sierra Leone. Now, his novel deals with what comes after the battles are over. How do people confront what they have endured and move on? Beah creates many memorable characters, each with tales that will break your heart while they also give you hope for the future. -- Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, OR
A haunting, beautiful first novel by the bestselling author of A Long Way Gone
When Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone was published in 2007, it soared to the top of bestseller lists, becoming an instant classic: a harrowing account of Sierra Leone’s civil war and the fate of child soldiers that “everyone in the world should read” (The Washington Post). Now Beah, whom Dave Eggers has called “arguably the most read African writer in contemporary literature,” has returned with his first novel, an affecting, tender parable about postwar life in Sierra Leone.
At the center of Radiance of Tomorrow are Benjamin and Bockarie, two longtime friends who return to their hometown, Imperi, after the civil war. The village is in ruins, the ground covered in bones. As more villagers begin to come back, Benjamin and Bockarie try to forge a new community by taking up their former posts as teachers, but they’re beset by obstacles: a scarcity of food; a rash of murders, thievery, rape, and retaliation; and the depredations of a foreign mining company intent on sullying the town’s water supply and blocking its paths with electric wires. As Benjamin and Bockarie search for a way to restore order, they’re forced to reckon with the uncertainty of their past and future alike.
With the gentle lyricism of a dream and the moral clarity of a fable, Radiance of Tomorrow is a powerful novel about preserving what means the most to us, even in uncertain times.
About the Author
Ishmael Beah was born in Sierra Leone in 1980. He came to the United States when he was seventeen and graduated from Oberlin College in 2004. He is a UNICEF Ambassador and Advocate for Children Affected by War; a member of the Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Advisory Committee; a visiting scholar at the Center for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University; a cofounder of the Network of Young People Affected by War (NYPAW); and the president of the Ishmael Beah Foundation. He has spoken before the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, and many panels on the effects of war on children. He lives in New York.
Praise for Radiance of Tomorrow…
Dion Graham skillfully balances his presentation of this harrowing novel. His lyrical delivery illustrates Beah's claim that he brings his country's oral tradition to his writing.
Underlining this compelling, leisurely paced story is the gorgeous, image-rich language, and Graham's masterful narration highlights the native cadences and the lyrical phrasings. He smoothly portrays the range of characters and their accents, from the metaphor-filled speech of the villagers to the authoritative tones of the factory owners and the more clipped speech of the city dwellers. Graham's performance also underlines the sense of despair that pervades the novel, lightened occasionally by moments of humor and, ultimately, hope. He seamlessly integrates the characters, cadence, and tone, connecting listeners to this powerful story.