“A devastating portrait of a boy holding onto the shreds of his innocence during a war that deliberately, remorselessly works to yank it away.”—Los Angeles Times
Part Inferno, part Paradise Lost, part Sunjata epic, Song for Night is the story of a West African boy soldier’s terrifying yet oddly beautiful journey through a nightmare landscape of brutal war in search of his lost platoon. The mute protagonist—his vocal cords cut to lower the risk of detection by the enemy—writes in a ghostly voice about his fellow minesweepers, the things he’s witnessed, and the things he’s done, each chapter headed by a line of the sign language these children invented. This “immersive and dreamlike” novella (Publishers Weekly, starred review) by a PEN/Hemingway Award winner is unlike anything else written about an African war.
“Not since Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird or Agota Kristof’s Notebook Trilogy has there been such a harrowing novel about what it’s like to be a young person in a war. That Chris Abani is able to find humanity, mercy, and even, yes, forgiveness, amid such devastation is something of a miracle.”—Rebecca Brown, author of The End of Youth
“Impressive and fast-paced…narrated with such dry and lucid precision that it brings to mind Babel, Hemingway, McCarthy.”—Esquire