Of Beasts and Beings: Book summary and reviews of Of Beasts and Beings by Ian Holding

Of Beasts and Beings

by Ian Holding

Of Beasts and Beings by Ian Holding X
Of Beasts and Beings by Ian Holding
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  • Published Oct 2011
    224 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

In this searing and timely novel, the devastating effects of a country's economic and moral collapse provide the backdrop for a story about individual fortitude and conscience. In an unnamed African republic, militiamen seize an innocent captive while he is scavenging for food in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. He is subsequently traded and ransomed and ends up in the hands of another group, whose members include a pregnant woman whom he is forced to carry in a wheelbarrow on a nightmarish and seemingly endless overland journey. This powerful story alternates with the tale of a white schoolteacher who, embittered by the horrific state of his country, is preparing to leave. Before he can do so he must confront his own demons and personal failings. Both men are in danger and both are apparently helpless to control their fates. When these two plotlines brilliantly and surprisingly unite the result is electrifying.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Powerful... Holding cleverly implicates the reader in the discrimination and dehumanization that has taken place in his abstract tale, casting us as collaborators in the tragedies playing out across Africa." - Publishers Weekly

"A story most notable for the grim monotony of the character's trek." - Kirkus Reviews

"Of Beasts and Beings is a thought-provoking study of the dehumanizing effects of racial violence and oppression." - The Guardian (UK)

"An ending as audacious as it is surprising." - Daily Mail (UK)

"At once merciless, poetic, and beautiful, Ian Holding's Of Beasts and Beings, is a postmodern elegy I won't soon forget." - Alice Sebold

This information about Of Beasts and Beings 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

Ian Holding

Ian Holding is a 31-year-old white Zimbabwean schoolteacher based in Harare, where he continues to live, work and write. His critically acclaimed debut novel, Unfeeling, was published in 2005 and shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2006.

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