Beasts of No Nation: A Novel (Paperback)

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“Remarkable. . . . Iweala never wavers from a gripping, pulsing narrative voice. . . . He captures the horror of ethnic violence in all its brutality and the vulnerability of youth in all its innocence.” —Entertainment Weekly (A)

The harrowing, utterly original debut novel by Uzodinma Iweala about the life of a child soldier in a war-torn African country

As civil war rages in an unnamed West-African nation, Agu, the school-aged protagonist of this stunning 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 writer.

About the Author

Uzodinma Iweala received the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, all for Beasts of No Nation. He was also selected as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. A graduate of Harvard University and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, he lives in New York City and Lagos, Nigeria.

Praise For…

“A tour de force.”
Washington Post Book World

“Brilliant. . . . This is a remarkable novel that suggests a dazzling literary future.”
People (****)

“A startling debut…. Iweala’s acute imagining allows him to depict the war as a mesh of bestial pleasures and pain.”
The New Yorker

“An outstanding first novel. . . . Resonant, beautiful. . . . Iweala’s book will be readily embraced by readers.”
Janet Maslin, New York Times

“Electrifying. . . . A harrowing read. . . The story is gripping enough. But even more stunning is the extraordinarily original voice. . . . Always breathless, often breathtaking, and sometimes heartbreaking.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Searing and visceral. . . . Agu’s unblinking innocence gives the story its most powerful and disturbing beauty.”
San Diego Union-Tribune

“The hypnotic present tense, first-person narration draws the reader deep into the child soldier’s shattered psyche.”
Washington Post

“Remarkable. . . . Iweala never wavers from a gripping, pulsing narrative voice. . . . He captures the horror of ethnic violence in all its brutality and the vulnerability of youth in all its innocence.”
Entertainment Weekly (A)

“Devastating. . . a raw and brutal story about the horrifying effects of cruelty and the incredible power of hope.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“This is an extraordinary book. . . . so vivid [and] powerful.”
Sunday Telegraph
Product Details
ISBN: 9780063139039
ISBN-10: 0063139030
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Pages: 160
Language: English