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The Boston Globe

Books

Book Review

‘Radiance of Tomorrow’ by Ishmael Beah

The title is a promise or a plea for a bright future. But Ishmael Beah’s relentlessly heart-breaking first novel “Radiance of Tomorrow” is about the cruelty of the aftermath of the 1990s civil war in Sierra Leone.

Beah is the author of “A Long Way Gone,” his eye-opening 2007 memoir about having been forced, at 13, to commit acts of mass slaughter during the civil war. In “Radiance of Tomorrow,” the fighting is over, and the child soldiers with guns and grenades, gasoline and matches, have departed. But the country’s emotional struggles persist, present in the old bones that lie on the ground, in the missing hands and scarred cheeks, in the lingering fear that haunts the survivors’ eyes and quiets their tongues.

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