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Our Beautiful Darkness: Book summary and reviews of Our Beautiful Darkness by Ondjaki

Our Beautiful Darkness

A Graphic Novel

by Ondjaki

Our Beautiful Darkness by Ondjaki X
Our Beautiful Darkness by Ondjaki
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About this book

Book Summary

A blackout leads two teens to discover the intimacy and vulnerability that can only be shared in darkness in Our Beautiful Darkness, a fully illustrated YA novella from celebrated Angolan author Ondjaki and illustrator António Jorge Gonçalves.

The light goes out suddenly. And in this absence of light, a pair of teenagers bare their souls. Into the warm silence of the night, they share a conversation filled with their stories and dreams… and maybe even a first kiss.

Set against the backdrop of the civil war that ravaged Angola in the 1990s, this book weaves the country's history with a teenage boy's family stories. But when a power outage shrouds the neighborhood in darkness, everyday realities fade away… As the boy and a girl sit talking in the backyard, memory gives way to imagination and vulnerability, and the space between them becomes charged with emotional electricity.

Their resulting conversation is both a meditation on the storytelling impulse and a gripping narrative of first love that, through its particulars, ascends to the universal.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Miller-Lachmann does a remarkable job of making this rich piece accessible to an English-language readership. Ondjaki's poetic prose draws an achingly potent picture of two young people reaching for each other during a sudden moment of possibility, while the white text on the black pages and Gonçalves' rough, white-on-black illustrations help create an immersive experience. As the best art does, this collaboration makes a very specific story—two young people, one night—feel universal. A brilliantly elemental exploration of the light that darkness can bring." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

This information about Our Beautiful Darkness was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Ondjaki

Ondjaki was born in Luanda, Angola in 1977. His novels, short stories, poetry, and children's books have received numerous prizes. He received the José Saramago Prize and Littérature-Monde Prize for his novel Transparent City, which was translated into seven languages and included in best-book roundups by Vanity Fair, Vulture, Lit Hub, Globe and Mail, World Literature Today, and more.

António Jorge Gonçalves is a Portuguese creator of graphic novels and picture books. A long-time political cartoonist for the Portuguese newspaper Público, he has also published in Courrier International and Le Monde. He created a live digital drawing technique with which he has performed onstage with musicians, actors, and dancers worldwide. He received Portugal's National Illustration Prize for Our Beautiful Darkness.

Lyn Miller-Lachmann translates children's books from Portuguese to English, including award-winning picture book The World in a Second and YA graphic novel Pardalita. She is the author of Torch, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for YA Literature, and co-author (with Zetta Elliott) of the middle grade verse novel Moonwalking.

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