Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Radiance of Tomorrow: A Novel” as Want to Read:
Radiance of Tomorrow: A Novel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Radiance of Tomorrow: A Novel

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,663 Ratings  ·  448 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
...more
Audio CD, 6 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Macmillan Audio
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Friederike Knabe
Feb 03, 2014 Friederike Knabe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, african-lit
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
Angela M
Mar 27, 2014 Angela M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
...more
jo
May 24, 2014 jo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Diane S ☔
Mar 15, 2014 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 26, 2013 Chihoe Ho rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
...more
Ron Charles
Jan 01, 2014 Ron Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war-fiction
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
...more
Erin
Jan 17, 2014 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 02, 2014 Scott Freeman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-books
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.
Marieke
Oof. I'm really having trouble with this book, not so much the story, but the writing. Despite some beautiful sentences and passages, it just didn't work for me. I was surprised to see that I'm in a minority, with most people giving the book four and five stars. Even three stars is somewhat of a stretch for me. I'm waffling between two and three stars.

Although something was amiss for me with the writing, it was somehow still evocative. The book had a mood and I had visceral reactions to certain
...more
Nambou
Apr 29, 2014 Nambou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful story. This book is simply a.must.read.

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
...more
Patricia
Dec 30, 2013 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Andrea
Jan 12, 2014 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Westminster Library
Radiance of Tomorrow takes the reader on a journey to post civil war Sierra Leone through the author’s experiences as a dislocated child in the civil war. Instead of writing about his own experience as in his earlier biography Long Way Gone, he writes about two families who desperately try to survive the effects of post war in their small town community. Beah uses a beautifully descriptive writing style that he explains in the preface of the book. The Mende language is full of figurative imagery ...more
Diane Brown
Jul 14, 2014 Diane Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-books
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
Mal Warwick
Apr 10, 2014 Mal Warwick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Meghan Crowley
Dec 29, 2013 Meghan Crowley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
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
...more
Veronica
*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
...more
priscilla
Dec 26, 2013 priscilla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
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
...more
Paul
Aug 14, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Ifeyinwa
Jul 03, 2015 Ifeyinwa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Radiance of tomorrow narrates the rejuvenation of Imperi, a village destroyed by war, and the return of its people to recreate their lives. However, in this season of recreation, other changes threaten the fragile life of Imperi.

Although the novel began rather slowly for my taste, I truly enjoyed it. From its expressive and poetic style to the refreshing narrative of revival, I soaked it all in. However, I was surprised that although the story began with Mama Kadie, Ishmael used other characters
...more
Columbus
Mar 03, 2014 Columbus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sherri F.
Book & CD: 3.5 - This was a decent follow up to his memoir (A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier). Beah is is a great expressive writer and does a good job sharing how expressive his African language is and how it translates to English and describing the culture and day-to-day living. Plus the story was interesting and relative to his memoir. However, for me, it was too much of a downer. For his memoir, I was expecting that b/c of what he went through & it being during war time. How ...more
Booknblues
Jan 18, 2014 Booknblues rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, war
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
...more
MJ
Jul 28, 2014 MJ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Sarah
Feb 03, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, adult-2014
This book gets 5 stars based solely on the fact that it left me utterly devastated. Utterly.
Jill Furedy
Mar 17, 2014 Jill Furedy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kecia
Feb 21, 2014 Kecia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, nerdy-girls
"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
...more
Martha
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
Chari
Jan 25, 2014 Chari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Dust
  • The Orchard of Lost Souls
  • Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir
  • Into the Go-Slow
  • Beneath the Lion's Gaze
  • Coconut
  • Our Lady of the Nile
  • The Magic of Saida
  • Happiness, Like Water
  • Foreign Gods, Inc.
  • Bingo's Run
  • Angry Wind: Through Muslim Black Africa by Truck, Bus, Boat, and Camel
  • Lyrics Alley
  • White Dog Fell from the Sky
  • Thirty Girls
  • All Our Names
  • The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River
  • Ancestor Stones
24189
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
More about Ishmael Beah...

Share This Book



“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.” 17 likes
“Who can ever know what path to walk on when all of them are either crooked or broken? One just has to walk.” 12 likes
More quotes…