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About Ishmael Beah
His novel, written with the gentle lyricism of a dream and the moral clarity of a fable is a powerful book about preserving what means the most to us, even in uncertain times.
The New York Times finds in his writing an "allegorical richness" and a "remarkable humanity to his characters". His forthcoming book "Little Family, A Novel" will be published in April 28, 2020 by Riverhead Books (Penguin USA).
He is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and advocate for Children by War, and a member of the Human Rights Watch Children Advisory Committed. He lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife and three children.
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My new friends have begun to suspect I haven't told them the full story of my life.
"Why did you leave Sierra Leone?"
"Because there is a war."
"You mean, you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?"
"Yes, all the time."
I smile a little.
"You should tell us about it sometime."
This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.
What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived.
In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.
This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.
A powerful novel about young people living at the margins of society, struggling to replace the homes they have lost with the one they have created together.
Hidden away from a harsh outside world, five young people have improvised a home in an abandoned airplane, a relic of their country’s tumultuous past. Elimane, the bookworm, is as street-smart as he is wise. Clever Khoudiemata maneuvers to keep the younger kids—athletic, pragmatic Ndevui, thoughtful Kpindi, and especially their newest member, Namsa—safe and fed. When Elimane makes himself of service to the shadowy William Handkerchief, it seems as if the little family may be able to keep the world at bay and their household intact. But when Khoudi comes under the spell of the “beautiful people”—the fortunate sons and daughters of the elite—the desire to resume an interrupted coming of age and follow her own destiny proves impossible to resist.
A profound and tender portrayal of the connections we forge to survive the fate we’re dealt, Little Family marks the further blossoming of a unique global voice.
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
As crianças se tornaram presença constante nas guerras de nossos dias. Nos mais de cinquenta conflitos em curso na atualidade, estima-se que haja cerca de 300 mil crianças envolvidas diretamente. Ishmael Beah era uma delas.
Como é a experiência da guerra aos olhos de uma criança? Como elas se tornam assassinas? Como abandonam o crime? As crianças do campo de batalha já foram objeto de reportagens e romances. Mas até este livro, ainda não existia um relato em primeira pessoa de alguém que enfrentou esse inferno e sobreviveu.
Em Muito longe de casa, Beah conta uma história pungente: aos doze anos de idade, fugiu do ataque de rebeldes e vagou por uma terra arrasada pela violência. Aos treze, foi recrutado pelo Exército do governo de Serra Leoa e descobriu que era capaz de atrocidades inimagináveis.
Este é um relato raro e hipnotizante, contado com força literária e uma honestidade de cortar o coração.
Un giorno, però, in cui sono in uno di questi villaggi, li raggiunge la terribile notizia: i ribelli hanno attaccato e distrutto Mogbwemo. La guerra per i ragazzi cessa così di essere un film di Rambo e diventa l'orrore che sbuca di colpo dal fondo della foresta. Ishmael non vedrà piú casa sua e i suoi genitori. Fuggirà nella foresta, sarà catturato dall'esercito governativo, imbottito di droga, educato all'omicidio. Il suo migliore amico non sarà piú il tredicenne Talloi ma l'AK-47 e la sua musica non piú l'hip-hop ma quella del suo fucile automatico.
Testimonianza indimenticabile dal cuore dell'Africa, Memorie di un soldato bambino «dà voce letteraria a una delle figure più drammatiche del nostro tempo: l'adolescente guerriero e assassino» (William Boyd).