Beah poetically captures the possibilities of rebuilding a community after heart-breaking tragedy. In this novel, he imagines what could happen to a village in western Africa after genocide. Included in this portrait are a wide range of thoughtfully-rendered characters, including a former child soldier and village elders. — Bonnie Winchester
I can't recommend this highly enough. Written almost poetically, Beah tells of the rebuilding and subsequent demise of a small, war-ravaged town in Sierra Leone. The story here is not the war, however, or its aftermath, but the determination of people to make a home and maintain the life they once knew - no matter the current circumstances. Storytelling is a major theme through the book, and it is written like it would be told; matter-of-factly, but with an unending undercurrent of hope. In the words of one of the town elders, we must always strive for "the radiance of tomorrow". — Sarah Walcott
“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.
Named one of the Christian Science Monitor's best fiction books of 2014
“Beah has a resilient spirit and a lyrical style all his own. Even as a multitude of wearying failures mounts, his characters retain their hopefulness in a way that's challenging and inspiring.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“Written with the moral urgency of a parable and the searing precision of a firsthand account . . . There is an allegorical richness to Beah's storytelling and a remarkable humanity to his characters. We see tragedy arriving not through the big wallops of war, but rather in corrosive increments.” —Sara Corbett, The New York Times Book Review
“A formidable and memorable novel--a story of resilience and survival, and, ultimately, rebirth.” —Edwidge Danticat, Publishers Weekly
“UNICEF Ambassador Beah writes lyrically and passionately about ugly realities as well as about the beauty and dignity of traditional ways.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“In 2007, Beah woke us from our slumbers with A Long Way Gone . . . Here, in his first novel . . . our heroes (like Beah himself) stay radiant to the end.” —Library Journal
“Everyone in the world should read this book. Not just because it contains an amazing story, or because it's our moral, bleeding-heart duty, or because it's clearly written. We should read it to learn about the world and about what it means to be human.” —The Washington Post on A Long Way Gone
“A breathtaking and unselfpitying account of how a gentle spirit survives a childhood from which all innocence has suddenly been sucked out. It's a truly riveting memoir.” —Time on A Long Way Gone