Radiance of Tomorrow: A Novel
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
glow around town. The smell made even the dogs sneeze, some chewing on plants perhaps to cure themselves. The people of Imperi were beginning to believe in the new life of their town. They no longer leapt up when children suddenly shouted in joy while playing. They remained relaxed on their verandas when strangers emerged from the paths. But the town’s revival was fragile. If the elders had been asked, they would have advised the company to let Imperi become stable before beginning operations.
around town. It made the people laugh. It made them believe, too, that the world still had an arsenal of consequences for those who disrespect the elders and the land. Miller handed the money over to Colonel and described the surprise on Wonde’s face when he tore up the note. “I wanted him to follow me for his money so I could take him into the forest and deal with him there,” Miller said as he pulled out more of the money he had in his pocket. Colonel tried not to smile, even though he loved
those days when everyone wished that their youthful qualities were behind them.” He said nothing more for a while and Mama Kadie didn’t ask. He was thinking again about the war, specifically about the numerous times he had escaped death. About the time the soldiers decided instead to chase after the young people, saying, “He is old, so don’t waste the ammunition on him. He can’t go far, so we will catch him and use the knives when we get back.” A group of boys who could have been his
machines dug into the graves, pulling out bodies, skulls, and some bones still wrapped in old cotton clothes; they were all deposited in a big hole the machines had dug. People cried and shouted in vain. They apologized to the ancestors. No one had ever witnessed an entire cemetery destroyed like this. Some people refused to believe that this was actually happening. They thought they were having a nightmare that would pass. It seemed the sun had told the moon what it had seen, because the moon
money to rent a one-bedroom in the western part of the city. His new neighbors felt sorry for him and gave him food every day, and their children took a liking to him, but the relationship hurt his heart. They made him remember his own grandchildren. Still, he would sometimes walk the children to school. The children thought he did it because he liked it, but in truth he had been going from school to school in search of his son, Bockarie, who was a teacher. Wherever he stayed, he would visit all