ISHMAEL BEAH in conversation with SUSANNE PARI




Ishmael Beah in conversation with Susanne Pari

Thursday, January 16, 7:30 p.m. 

Radiance of Tomorrow

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.  

Susanne Pari is an Iranian-American journalist and author of The Fortune Catcher, a novel of a young woman—American and Iranian, Jewish and Muslim—caught in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. She writes and speaks on issues of immigration, religious fundamentalism, women’s rights, and what she thinks it means to be an American. She was the Program Director for the 25 literary salons of Book Group Expo, a judge for The California Center for the Book’s Letters About Literature Contest and for the Lakota Children's Enrichment Writing Project. She's a member of the National Book Critics Circle, The Author's Guild and The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. 

The Washington Post ran a beautiful review of Radiance of Tomorrow on December 31st—Ron Charles calls it an “emotionally nimble story of return and rebuilding . . . [that] negotiates a delicate space somewhere between psychological realism and tribal fable . . . Beah has a resilient spirit and a lyrical style all his own.” Read the full review here.


“The language of the Radiance of Tomorrow — simple sentences with flashes of poetry — builds to the cadence of a fable. … That prose style, so organic, so rich with metaphors of sky, wind, and night, adds enormous power to Beah’s already potent piece of fiction.” – from the Boston Globe review that ran on 1/6. Full text:


"Beah has produced a formidable and memorable novel—a story of resilience and survival, and, ultimately, rebirth.” —Edwidge Danticat, Publishers Weekly

Event date: 
Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1010 El Camino Real
94025-4349 Menlo Park
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374531263
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Sarah Crichton Books - August 5th, 2008

Radiance of Tomorrow Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780374246020
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Sarah Crichton Books - January 7th, 2014