At the beginning of the book, he is a young boy whose parents are separated and loves performing rap with his elder brother and friends. After armed forced attack his home village, he, his brother, and friends are left orphans and wander around seeking shelter.
Critics were bowled over. Carolyn See, in The Washington Post, wrote: That will be our strength. That has always been our strength.
Then when it appeared, I thought it would only appeal to people working in the humanitarian field who knew about these issues. But the book took on a life of its own, and I was amazed at the interest people showed in events unfolding in such faraway parts of the world.
Of course, it was all quite a nice surprise, but also sad in ways, too, since the book did come under some criticism and prejudice as well.
In your introductory note to Radiance of Tomorrowyou mention the fatigue you felt after finishing the memoir. It was quite a draining experience, but cathartic, too, right?
When I decided I was going to write about it, I had to go back into some of these places because I wanted people to feel the emotions, to understand and even smell the places I had been. So I had to go back to a very difficult situation, and at the end of it I realized—which was surprising to me—that it actually helped me understand what it was that I had come out of, to really see what had happened because otherwise I never would have had the chance to do that.
At the end of Radiance of Tomorrowone of the main characters, a former schoolteacher named Bockarie, attempts to write down his own observations of his surroundings and community. The power of writing—to both heal and communicate—is an important theme in your books.
How do you do that? I remember when I finished writing the memoir and gave it to a few people to read, a friend said, "One problem I had is that after reading it, I felt like I was having a breakdown. Was writing the novel a very different experience for you?
Did it require a more detached approach? It was very different. One of the big differences for me is that the novel is freer. So I was free to play with language, time lines, and my imagination more than I had been with the nonfiction, which is limited by what really happened.
But in the novel I was able to play with the oral tradition, with folklore—I was able to use languages from my own culture and re-create them so that the English has a different feel. I found writing fiction actually much more exciting.
You create characters and then let them loose in the world! Are these images that come out of poetic translations from your own languages? Yes, from the different languages but also from the oral tradition. I feel like language fits a landscape—the mannerisms, the way you speak, fits where you are.
So when I tried to get into the mind-set of the characters, there were both the older generation that was trying to go back to earlier ways destroyed during the war and young people who were resisting this.
So how do you capture this in language? For me, I had to discover the many ways people use language differently. Who are some of the other writers—whether African or not—who were important influences on you?
The South African J. Coetzee has been important to me, especially his novel Waiting for the Barbarians. He can express so much about a character in such a short space. You can really feel the care he has taken for each sentence.
Also, the Haitian writer Edwidge Danticat has meant a lot to me. Do you also read many of the younger generation of African writers? I do read the contemporary writers, mostly of fiction.In A LONG WAY GONE, Beah, now twenty-six years old, tells a riveting story.
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 .
Feb 25, · “A Long Way Gone” makes you wonder how anyone comes through such unrelenting ghastliness and horror with his humanity and sanity intact. Unusually, the smiling, open face of the author on the book jacket provides welcome and .
“A long way gone” is a really interesting book, that shows in a direct way how a war can deeply change a country that was previously peaceful.
I don’t like reading so much, and honestly I found this book a little bit burdensome because of all the long descriptions, which I don’t appreciate too much in books. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier () is a memoir written by Ishmael Beah, an author from Sierra Leone.
The book is a firsthand account of Beah's time as a child soldier during the civil war in Sierra Leone (s). In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now 25 years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of 12, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence.
By 13, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible webkandii.coms: K. Learn about Ishmael Beah, author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier.
Ishmael Beah was born in Sierra Leone in He moved to the United States in and finished his last two years of high school at the United Nations International School in New York.