"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Post Number: 217
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Friday, December 30, 2005 - 01:36 am: ||
I read this novel with "Sudan" in mind because I chose it over "Slave," the 330-page ghostwritten memoir by Mende Nazer, partly because of its brevity (at only 142 pages), but mostly because it's one of the most highly acclaimed first novels I'm aware of (the author is a 23-year-old Harvard graduate, an American of Nigerian parentage).
It follows a very young boy soldier in an unnamed African country -- from his induction into the guerilla army and his initiation into the culture of killing, through his sexual abuse at the hands of his Commandant, and also contains flashbacks to his relatively normal family life before the conflict started. To say that it's chilling would be an understatement, but for me, one of the most telling scences is the one in which the boy accompanies the Commandant to a brothel. There's an older woman at the entrance who question the suitability of the boy to enter such an establishment, and for that exercise of surrogate parental authority, he considers killing her.
It's written in a kind of broken English, so here are the reviews, in case anyone is interested: