In the abounding opioid epidemic in the United States, Transcendent Kingdom could not be timelier. Apart from being useful in the face of such a current calamity, the novel cements itself as timeless – Anyone interested in life’s ever-present complexities has much to benefit from this book. It is the ideal companion as one struggles to make sense of suffering when one is handed the bitter chalice.
With vivid descriptions and transitions that tie the numerous strands of the story neatly into one masterpiece, the author’s wealth of research is magnificently displayed bringing to life historical facts in an easy, fun to read manner. Feigning an irreproachable presumptuous Christianity, Lapierre quotes scripture in an apparently innocent manner that delivers punches of mockery to ignorant egocentric adherence to scripture. Anyone seeking to get a glimpse into apartheid—its origins, workings, and eventual collapse—should consider reading A Rainbow in the Night. The book is also good for history students, world leaders in general and African ones in particular, human rights activists as well as politicians.
Tragic. This word seems inadequate to capture the immense suffering that Ishmael Beah and other Sierra Leonians go through during political upheavals in the country. At the tender age of twelve, Beah is separated with his close-knit family, witnesses the torching of homes, obliteration of people’s lives and livelihoods and the gruesome murder of human beings. He also comes to multiple close encounters with death as he flees the war and is eventually recruited as a boy soldier. Brainwashed and vengeful, the teen ends up killing and maiming multiple people before he is finally rehabilitated. In A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Beah narrates his experience under the 1991-2001 civil war that left over 50,000 dead.
Artistically written and peppered with epigraphs from the bible and classic texts, Redeeming Love is a work of art like no other. Among other literary devices, Francine Rivers’ use of dialogue makes the text come alive almost in conversation with the reader. Characters converse among themselves and within themselves. But they even go further. They hear both malevolent and benevolent forces urging them on or discouraging them from various actions in their dealing with each other and their conduct towards themselves. Even the great I AM’s still small voice is present in the characters’ everyday lives. Characters seek the voice of God and respond to the urgings of these forces both by word and deed.
The author’s meticulous interaction with refugees in Dadaab yields detailed accounts of the circumstances that brought them to the camp, the impact of their residence in the camp, and the kind of future each of them likely faces. We also get a rare insight into Kenya’s Northeastern region and national politics, the terror of Al Shabaab in Kenya and Somalia, regional intergovernmental relations especially among the nation-states of Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, and Ethiopia, as well as a glimpse into the malady that tribalism is for Africa.
Other than giving the Dadaab refugees a voice and revealing with such intensity the multiple intricacies of their lives in the face of the numerous forces operating in their world, a major strength of this book is the author’s use of description. With his words, Rawlence paints vivid images of people, places, and situations, easily taking the reader with him into and around Dadaab, as well as through parts of Kenya and Somalia.
Don Winslow’s ability to portray the reality of life, with characters having to choose between something bad and something even worse, makes him one of the most thrilling and realistic authors of our time. In The Border, Winslow demonstrates the often hard to see grey areas of life, complicating what many view as a straight-forward relationship between right and wrong, good and evil. This way, he lays bare the complex relationship between people and between nations, particularly the US and Mexico, and consequently critique simplistic approaches to these relationships.