The harrowing, utterly original debut novel by Uzodinma Iweala about the life of a child soldier in a war-torn African country—now a critically-acclaimed Netflix original film directed by Cary Fukunaga (True Detective) and starring Idris Elba (Mandela, The Wire).
As civil war rages in an unnamed West-African nation, Agu, the school-aged protagonist of this stunning debut novel, is recruited into a unit of guerilla fighters. 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 continues to spin further downward into inexplicable brutality, primal fear, and loss of selfhood. In a powerful, strikingly original voice, Uzodinma Iweala leads the reader through the random travels, betrayals, and violence that mark Agu’s new community. Electrifying and engrossing, Beasts of No Nation announces the arrival of an extraordinary new writer.
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Uzodinma Iweala is also the author of Our Kind of People, a work of nonfiction. He lives in New York City and Lagos, Nigeria.Review:
“[Beasts of No Nation] is a work of visceral urgency...it heralds the arrival of a major talent.” (Amitav Ghosh, author of The Glass Palace)
“Uzodinma Iweala is a gifted and brave writer.” (Chris Abani, author of GraceLand)
“An astonishing debut.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“A harrowing account of the intoxication of violence...that offers no easy answers or explanations.” (Library Journal)
“This is an extraordinary book. . . . It’s so vivid [and] powerful.” (Sunday Telegraph)
“A raw, compelling first novel.” (Literary Review)
“A powerful debut.” (The Times of London)
“A brilliant debut. . . . This is a remarkable novel that suggests a dazzling literary future.” (People (****))
“Remarkable. . . . Iweala never wavers from a gripping, pulsing narrative voice.” (Entertainment Weekly (A))
“A startling debut.... Iweala’s acute imagining allows him to depict the war as a mesh of bestial pleasures and pain.” (The New Yorker)
“The hypnotic present tense, first-person narration draws the reader deep into the child soldier’s shattered psyche.” (The Washington Post)
“Searing and visceral. . . . Agu’s unblinking innocence gives the story its most powerful and disturbing beauty.” (San Diego Union-Tribune)
“An outstanding first novel. . . . Resonant, beautiful. . . . Iweala’s book will be readily embraced by readers.” (Janet Maslin, The New York Times)
“Uzodinma Iweala is receiving not just hype but praise from reviewers for the frighteningly convincing voice of a preteen soldier.” (New York Magazine)
“Searing. . . . An extraordinary debut novel.” (Time.com)
“Stark, vivid.... Written like a nightmare in progress, this story is a fever dream of voice and consciousness.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Devastating...a raw and brutal story about the horrifying effects of cruelty and the incredible power of hope.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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