Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Beasts of No Nation - Lisa's review

A horrible and shocking little book. At 142 pages, it sure packs a wallop, and is a book I probably won't forget for a long, long time. Set in an unnamed African country, it is the story of a young boy who is conscripted to be a soldier in some unnamed war. Placed in a terrible dilemma - go along with the soldiers or die - you journey with him into hell.

One of the difficult things about reading this book is that it is written as the character would think -- in other words, in a type of pidgin English. You get used to it very quickly, but here's a small sample:

This darkness is so full like it is my mother's hug. Heya! I am remembering my mother and how she is so good to me that each time she is hugging me that is all I am needing to see the dark skin of her arm holding me close to her and I am knowing that the life I am living is so good. I am walking with my hand stretching out in front of me because I am trying to catch all of those thought that is floating around me so I can make sure no part of me is missing.

On a side note, the author of this book - notable by the New York Times, was born in 1982. So that's what it's come to. I'm reading books by people born when I was in high school. Boy, do I feel old.

*cross posted on breakingfourth.blogspot.com

7 comments:

Literary Feline said...

The age thing is probably something I would notice too. Haha

Wendy said...

I couldn't tell 100% from your review, Lisa, how you liked this book. It was a "horrible" little book, I agree...and yet I was glad I read it (and find myself still thinking about it).

Lisa said...

You're right Wendy!! I didn't even say how glad I was that I read it. "Horrible" in content, not in experience!! I thought the book was brilliant, and I am so glad I read it, although I think it's impossible to say I "enjoyed" it! What an incredible author....I hope he writes more.

Wendy said...

thanks for clearing that up, Lisa *LOL* I know what you mean about saying "I enjoyed it"...it just isn't a book that you can't wait to pick up and keep reading. I read it sort of dreading each page; and yet I thought it was beautifully written.

Pour of Tor said...

I have to admit that I too was overcome with a profound feeling of aged non-accomplishment when I read Iweala's book. This was only enhanced by the fact that (sigh) he is the little brother of the valedictorian of my high school class.

sally906 said...

I think I am going to add this to my list - sounds intriguing. Pigeon English no problem for me as I was brought up in Nigeria - and the first seven years of my life this speech was the prime way of communication for me :)

kookiejar said...

Ariel, do you know the author's brother or was he just in your graduating class?