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A Moonless, Starless Sky

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781472153708

Price: £14.99

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‘Absolutely essential reading, period’ Alexandra Fuller, bestselling author of Don’t Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight

WINNER of the 2018 PEN Open Book Award

In the tradition of Behind the Beautiful Forevers, this is a masterful, humane work of literary journalism by New Yorker staff writer Alexis Okeowo – a vivid narrative of Africans who are courageously resisting their continent’s wave of fundamentalism.

In A Moonless, Starless Sky Okeowo weaves together four narratives that form a powerful tapestry of modern Africa: a young couple, kidnap victims of Joseph Kony’s LRA; a Mauritanian waging a lonely campaign against modern-day slavery; a women’s basketball team flourishing amid war-torn Somalia; and a vigilante who takes up arms against the extremist group Boko Haram. This debut book by one of America’s most acclaimed young journalists illuminates the inner lives of ordinary people doing the extraordinary – lives that are too often hidden, underreported, or ignored by the rest of the world.


Finally, finally, finally -- a humane, skillful storyteller with sound reporting instincts has dug into the middle of the stories we think we've already heard out of Africa. Alexis Okeowo can write prose as arresting as Ryszard Kapuscinski's, she's got Katherine Boo's big heart, but she has her own fresh way of approaching the work, one that is terribly overdue. Absolutely essential reading, period.
Alexandra Fuller, New York Times bestselling author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight and Quiet Until the Thaw
From an abolitionist who once owned a slave to women basketball players in a war zone, Alexis Okeowo has an alert and thoughtful eye for the unexpected. The portraits and voices she brings us from Africa are so vivid that the reader can easily forget the determination and bravery it must have taken to gather them in these unhappy corners of the continent.
Adam Hochschild, New York Times bestselling author of King Leopold's Ghost and Spain in Our Hearts
In A Moonless, Starless Sky, Alexis Okeowo has wandered as a reporter into some of Africa's most difficult and dangerous corners and delivered something remarkable: real characters, women and men, fully rendered.
Howard W. French, author of Everything Under the Heavens
Spectacular reporting. Full of fresh, unexpected detail. If you want to get an immediate sense of the lives, both quotidian and extraordinary, of Africans in some of the continent's most troubled countries, read Alexis Okeowo's book.
William Finnegan, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Barbarian Days
Remarkable.... Okeowo writes with beauty and grace.... Refreshingly, she does not give in to easy answers.... Clear-eyed, lyrical, observant, and compassionate--reportage at its finest.
Kirkus (starred review)
Gripping and important read about African men and women taking on extremism.
Riz Ahmed
[A] rich and urgently necessary book in which Okeowo disregards all preconceptions to reach for the truth . . . [Okeowo] is equipped with the empathy to inhabit her subjects' lives, the emotional and intellectual capacity to withhold judgement and a sufficient measure of detachment. In prose of devastating simplicity Okeowo mines the moral complexity at the heart of [the] story . . . Okeowo has taken their stories, crafted them in all their courage and complexity and placed them at the center of the story of what it is to be human.
New York Times Book Review
The achievement of the four stories in Alexis Okeowo's sad and lovely A Moonless, Starless Sky is to render seemingly inexplicable and terrifying events in "far off" African lands quite ordinary ... It is the use of ordinary language that allows Okeowo, a practitioner of the "show, don't tell" school of writing, to reveal character and situation with understated detail ... The author is not interested in the heroism of the journalist. What we are left with is a study of the human spirit struggling to be good even when the prevailing forces are pulling in the opposite direction.
Financial Times
This astounding piece of non-fiction weaves together four narratives to create an urgent portrait of modern Africa.
Emerald Street
Okeowo is an excellent reporter, and she does an impressive job of condensing decades of complex history into a handful of paragraphs, but her true genius lies in profiling: she is capable of evoking empathy for her subjects in only a handful of lines.