Esther is a Ugandan teenager abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army and forced to witness and commit unspeakable atrocities, who is struggling to survive, to escape, and to find a way to live with what she has seen and done. Jane is an American journalist who has traveled to Africa, hoping to give a voice to children like Esther and to find her center after a series of failed relationships. In unflinching prose, Minot interweaves their stories, giving us razor-sharp portraits of two extraordinary young women confronting displacement, heartbreak, and the struggle to wrest meaning from events that test them both in unimaginable ways.
With mesmerizing emotional intensity and stunning evocations of Africa's beauty and its horror, Minot gives us her most brilliant and ambitious novel yet.
"Starred Review. Though not easy to read, this is a deeply affecting title that manages to express weighty sentiments and horrific events with subtlety and poetry and also marks Minot's first major work since her 1997 novel Evening." - Library Journal
"This is a risky narrative ploy, as Jane's concerns seem trivial compared to those of the heroically resilient teenagers. It pays off at the end, though." - Publishers Weekly
"Despite hauntingly beautiful prose, there is a secondhand feel to Esther's story, which plays fiddle to Jane's navel-gazing." - Kirkus
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Susan Minot is an award-winning novelist, short-story writer, poet, and screenwriter. Her first novel, Monkeys, was published in a dozen countries and won the Prix Femina Étranger in France. Her novel Evening was a worldwide best seller and became a major motion picture. She received her MFA from Columbia University and lives with her daughter in New York City and on an island off the coast of Maine.
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