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Radiance of Tomorrow

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  1,781 ratings  ·  339 reviews
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 Egg
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Sarah Crichton Books
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Friederike Knabe
Mama Kadie cautiously enters the central path of her village, not sure what to expect, pondering on what has remained and who is still there or has come back like she does now. After the traumas, losses and devastation of the war she experiences profound emotions as she walks barefoot on the local soil, smells the scents of the land and watches and listens for every sound in the bushes. What will life have in store for her? The opening pages of Ishmael Beah's debut novel, Radiance of Tomorrow, a ...more
May 24, 2014 jo rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: africa

this book is a brutal fairy tale.

at first it presents you with The World as It Should Be and Maybe Has Never Been but We Can Dream of It:

exhausted, traumatized, mutilated physically and spiritually by a brutal war, villagers come back to their destroyed village. the first are a couple of elders, who take on the essential job of burying the dead. soon more people return: families, ex-child soldiers, pregnant girls. The elders are the moral and civic center of the village and hold it together wi
Diane S.
For the people of Sierra Leone the last few decades have been horrific, the war has demolished villages, killed many people and sent others to makeshift displacement camps. Now at last the war is over, and the people of Impari are returning to their village, to the only place they know as home. At first it is just two elders who find few houses standing and many, many dead bodies. They have no idea how many of the villagers survived, even those of their own families. More and more arrive, almost ...more
Chihoe Ho
"Radiance of Tomorrow" alludes to more than just a new hope the future brings. It speaks to the hardships tomorrow might come with, and the human courage and determination it takes to face such challenges. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, sometimes it just takes a little detours to get there.

It takes a little while warming up to the words. You get what Ishmael Beah is trying to convey but because his wording and sentence structures are not typical to an "English" novel, which he
Angela M

I was pulled in from the beginning, not the beginning of the story, but by the author’s introductory note. He begins by describing the importance and meaning of the oral tradition of storytelling in the small village of Sierra Leone where he was born. This tradition becomes an important part of the novel in many ways. It brings together the community of people who have suffered unimaginable losses, it teaches children, and it brings hope when there isn’t any. This tradition also brings beautiful
After reading the first 3 chapters of this book I had from the library, I went out and bought my own copy. I also spent some time on the internet trying to learn about the civil war in Sierra Leone..not because you need to but because the writing made me feel that I wanted to. This is most definitely not a book you read for mere entertainment value or as a quick read. You just want to soak in every word on the page. You read it for the beauty of the words and the writing, for the experience of a ...more
Scott Freeman
It's just January 2nd and I already have a book that is guaranteed to make my end of the year list.

Ishmael Beah's Radiance of Tomorrow is a haunting and poignant look at the attempts to rebuild a war-town town.

What stood out for me was just how easy it is to victimize the already victimized, primarily in the names of progress and capitalism.

A must read.
Ron Charles
Who doesn’t feel humbled by the hopefulness of those who have suffered most? The unbowed spirit of Nelson Mandela, Elie Wiesel or young Malala Yousafzai rebukes our lazy cynicism and reminds us that there’s nothing effete about expecting better days ahead.

Six years ago, the world heard from another resilient witness to humanity’s atrocities. Ishmael Beah was a teenager when civil war engulfed his home in Sierra Leone and rebels forced him to become a killer. His bestselling memoir, “A Long Way G
Ishmael Beah has written a stunningly beautiful novel. RADIANCE OF TOMORROW, finds a remote village in Sierra Leone attempting to rebuild and sustain a new community out of the madness and carnage of civil war. Already plagued with the challenges of disturbing personal memories and loss, they encounter even further cruelty and injustice as bureaucratic corruption, greed, and foreign encroachment threatens their survival. In the face of indescribable suffering, these survivors channel the unwaver ...more
Powerful story. This book is simply

1) Poetic writing style: The writing style holds you from page 1. Many personifications, images and you see little by little everything- literally everything- brought to life. Magical.

2) Fascinating plot & characters: Every character has a role, an objective, a meaning. The story seems to be based on actual events that took place in Sierra Leone after the war and this too, makes it extremely interesting. You are reading fiction, yet, you will
A touching story about loss and healing, and returning home - even while "home" is evolving into someplace entirely different from what it once was - and resilience. The characters in Radiance of Tomorrow are handled with a light touch. A lightness borne, it seems, out of deference and the impossibility of putting certain horrifying experiences to paper without trivializing them. Beautiful gems of the like found only in African literature are abundant. Well done, Ishmael Beah.
Mal Warwick
If you think you’ve experienced the worst that a human being can bear, Ishmael Beah will show you how very wrong you are. Then, remarkably, he’ll share his hope for better and leave you feeling restored.

In Radiance of Tomorrow – just in case you didn’t get it, radiance = hope – Beah tells the story of several inhabitants of a small town called Imperi in the African nation of Lion Mountain (Sierra Leone) after they return home following a long, horrific civil war that has taken so many of the mem
Meghan Crowley
I just finished my advanced reader’s copy of Radiance of Tomorrow and I’m still blown away by it. Though the theme of rebuilding a community after war is an important and engaging one, I was also incredibly impressed with the writing itself. I was not expecting that Beah’s transition to novel-writing would be a seamless one, and I found myself corrected.

In the first few pages, the reader might be overcome by the lyricism of some of Beah’s phrasing. A note from the author addresses the notion th
*Sort of Spoilers*

I've loved Ishmael Beah's writing ever since I read his memoir A Long Way Gone back in college. His memoir was heart-breaking but an open look at child soldiers.

In Radiance of Tomorrow, readers are introduced to life after war. The residents of Imperi thought they would never be affected by war. All reports were that skirmishes were hundreds of miles away. However, their world is shattered one day during a "No Living Thing" raid. As the name suggests, no living thing is meant t
It took me awhile to get into this. The style is so different from the novels I love. I was lucky enough to see Ishmael Beah and hear him read from this book before I took it home, so after allowing the memory of the rhythm of his speech to overtake my reader voice, the lyricism and cadence of his storytelling was just intoxicating.

This book, to me, is important. There are parts that tore at my insides - I read them on the train with the flats of my fingers pressed to my mouth, holding in the w
Radiance of Tomorrow is written like a fable with proverb-like phrases sprinkled throughout. A powerful story that deals with those returning back to their homes after the devasting effects of the Civil War in Sierra Leone that lasted 11 years (1991-2002). Beah paints a horrific picture of the devastation, corruption, family separation and despair experienced by the residents of Imperi. So much of this story just tears you apart. Beah never sugarcoats the atrocities. Yet, the hope, humanity and ...more
Radiance of Tomorrow: A Novel
by Ishmael Beah
5 stars
pp. 257

Any one who has read Ishmael Beah's heartbreaking memoir can attest to the fact that he is a compelling author. IHaving read his memoir, I had a great curiosity about his recently published novel about Sierra Leone. I wondered what kind of novelist he would be and now that I know I hope he continues writing both fiction and nonfiction as he has a gift.

In the Author's Note he explains the great tradition of storytelling in his native c
I adore books like Khaled Hossein’si And the Mountains Echoed and Ishmael Beah’s The Radiance of Tomorrow. Both authors incorporate the oral tradition of a people as used by its elders to teach the younger generation the deeper meanings of life and they use it to instruct the reader for a richer understanding of a people and culture.

My favorite lines from The Radiance of Tomorrow

Tradition can live on only if those carrying it respect it – and live in conditions that allow the traditions to sur
Diane Brown
The realities of post-war Sierra Leone and the physical, spiritual and emotional scars that those who have survived the war have endured, are well captured in this book. Just when the village begins to recover from the war and re-establish some of their cultural agency - through village meetings, story telling, amid growing poverty, a new struggle emerges when those in power give long-term leases and special concessions to foreign mining companies. The village now faces a new war, in which they ...more
This book gets 5 stars based solely on the fact that it left me utterly devastated. Utterly.
Jill Furedy
As soon as I read the author's note, I was a goner. Come on, how could I not love someone who rephrases "night came suddenly" as "the sky rolled over and changed its sides". The first phrase is staccato and direct, and I get the point, and quickly...but the second phrase is leisurely and thoughtful and reflective and it takes me a moment to process it but then I see it so much more clearly. I love when they ask someone "How has the world greeted you today?". I wonder what kind of answers would ...more
"It is the end, or maybe the beginning, of another story. Every story begins and ends with a woman, a mother, a grandmother, a girl, a child. Every story is a birth…"

Then in walks Mama Kadie. "She was the first to arrive where it seemed the wind no longer exhaled."

This is an extraordinary work of fiction. Beah understands deep in his African soul the power of the story. He tells us the story of the town of Imperi as it tries to come back to life after the civil war in Sierra Leone. We meet the d
Aug 14, 2014 Paul rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Paul by: Boston Globe
Beah's first book, the memoir "A Long Way Gone', depicted his life after he was impressed into the army during the civil war in Sierra Leone. It is a gut wrenching book and makes the reader wonder how this young man survived (both physically and mentally) in the milieu in which he was forced to act.

This book, a novel, is a great companion piece. The civil war has concluded and slowly people are returning to their villages only to find that their homes have been destroyed and that many of their f
The story confronts the reader with the multifaceted, unceasing abuse that many African nations experience, being repeated rolled over by internal greed and international corporations before and after civil wars. The difficult story is juxtaposed by the beautiful writing, as Beah translates many words and thoughts from his native tongue into their more literal English translation - with gorgeous imagery
Terri Jacobson
Imperi is a small African village in a country that has been torn apart by civil war. The war is over now, and the villagers are slowly returning to their devastated homes. Benjamin and Bockarie are two friends who have returned to the village, and they are trying to rebuild it and begin new lives with their families and friends. Times are still not easy, and among the many problems is a mining company that seems bent on destroying the town for its own profits. There are still undercurrents of v ...more
This author amazes me! If you have read his first book, a memoir, "Long Way Gone", you know of the personal struggles he has experienced. His writing is far beyond his years! Beautiful prose, you want to savor it, spend time with it. Highly recommended!
This, if anything is a book of hope and courage. There but for the grace of God go I. Let me count my blessings. That's what I HAVE to say when reading this exquisitely written book of such dynamic events. Ishmael's first book told his first person account of being forced into soldiering as a boy. A harrowing tale but told with a written word that was truly special. This second book, while prefaced as fiction, is the tale of families, returning to their villages, after civil war has torn their c ...more
This story broke my heart 1,000 times. The characters never gave up hope so I felt like I couldn't leave them. I saw an interview with Ishmael Beah where he said that he wanted this story to show that it is not the absence of adversity that brings about peace and happiness. Even in the midst of challenges there is often laughter, love, and hope.

The narration takes a little getting used to. The phrasing and descriptions take after the African oral tradition. This book demonstrates that there is p
Desera Favors
Apr 04, 2014 Desera Favors rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who considers themselves human
Recommended to Desera by: My book club group
I am so emotionally connected to this book, it is very encouraging and also eye opening.After reading this book I honestly felt as if there was no problem that I could not conquer, no issue that could not be resolved, no impossibilities. I felt every word expressed in this book, the elders stories, the endurance, strength and humility of the youth, the care and persistence in maintaining the innocence of the children. The beautiful love stories and the horrifying tragedies. The heart and soul an ...more
Denis Vukosav
“Radiance of Tomorrow” by Ishmael Beah is new well-made novel from African writer who tells a story about hope and courage, about consequences of the war-ravaged Sierra Leone, observed through the fate of two best friends who return to their hometown.

After the civil war in Sierra Leone was over, Benjamin and Bockarie together with other people are coming back to Imperi, their birth place in ruins. Both are teachers so their desire by resuming the old post is to help rebuild their country and the
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Literary Fiction ...: Discussion: Radiance of Tomorrow 86 102 May 12, 2014 01:06PM  
a story of extreme suffering which continues to uplift and encourage throughout 1 5 Apr 27, 2014 05:05AM  
Radiant Readers B...: Final thoughts - Radiance of Tomorrow 1 10 Mar 01, 2014 08:37AM  
MashableReads: General 13 62 Feb 25, 2014 04:15PM  
Book Keeping: Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah 1 3 Jan 30, 2014 10:59AM  
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Ishmael Beah was born in Sierra Leone in 1980. He moved to the United States in 1998 and finished his last two years of high school at the United Nations International School in New York. In 2004 he graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in political science.

He is a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Rights Division Advisory Committee and has spoken before the United Nations, the Cou
More about Ishmael Beah...
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers War and Children Fambul Tok Dedicated to the People of Darfur: Writings on Fear, Risk, and Hope

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“We must live in the radiance of tomorrow, as our ancestors have suggested in their tales. For what is yet to come tomorrow has possibilities, and we must think of it, the simplest glimpse of that possibility of goodness. That will be our strength. That has always been our strength.” 10 likes
“Who can ever know what path to walk on when all of them are either crooked or broken? One just has to walk.” 6 likes
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