The Other Hand
As reviewed in our May newsletter:
Although not a new title, this 2005 book deals with topics which are still pertinent today; refugees from war-torn countries, illegal immigrants without papers, and the 'us and them' ideology can be found plastered all over media outlets. In this novel Cleave has waved his deft hand over a typically difficult and intense topic. Teenage Little Bee from Nigeria finds herself in England after stowing away in a tea boat. After two harrowing years in a detention center, Little Bee sets out to find the husband and wife she met on a Nigerian beach 2 years earlier. Andrew, the husband, left his drivers license on the beach that fateful day. When Little Bee finally arrives at his London address she is confronted with a grieving wife Sarah and a small boy named Charlie clad in a Batman costume. A dramatic event forever links Andrew, his wife Sarah and Little Bee. The book unfolds into a roller coaster of a story; towards the end there are many highs and lows and it will leave you wondering what will happen next. There is great sadness in this novel and yet there is also a beautiful lightness and heartwarming sentiment about the essence of what humanity should be about. Cleave has a writing style which is mesmeric and completely absorbing, you feel every emotion the character is portraying and what's more, they feel real and believable. I can still revisit the scenes I created in my imagination when I read Everyone Brave is Forgiven because this writer is such a brilliant story teller. This book will leave you thinking about your own ideas of what it means to belong somewhere. I loved it! Gabrielle
Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and Costa Novel of the Year, this international bestseller has become a reading group classic. We don't want to tell you too much about this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this: It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific. The story starts there, but the book doesn't. And it's what happens afterwards that is most important. Once you have read it, you'll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.
The bestselling second novel from the author of GOLD and INCENDIARY.
Shortlisted for Costa Novel Award 2008.
'A powerful piece of art... shocking, exciting and deeply affecting...[a] superb novel... Besides sharp, witty dialogue, an emotionally charged plot and the vivid characters' ethical struggles, THE OTHER HAND delivers a timely challenge to reinvigorate our notions of civilized decency.' -- Independent 20080822 'Searingly eloquent.' -- Daily Mail 20080822 'It would be hard not to romp through it.' -- Financial Times 20080823 'An ambitious and fearless gallop from the jungles of Africa via a shocking encounter on a Nigerian beach to the media offices of London and domesticity in leafy suburbia...Cleave immerses the reader in the worlds of his characters with an unshakable confidence. ' -- Guardian 20080809 'totally believable... the author has a knack of explaining human suffering... I look forward to his next offering.' -- Daily Express 20080830 'impresses as a feat of literary engineering... the plot exerts a fearsome grip.' -- Telegraph 20080913 'You stay in thrall to the bittersweet end.' -- Scotland on Sunday 20080809 'By turns funny, sad and shocking' -- Sainsburys Magazine 20080804 'Warm, witty and beautifully written.' -- Sunday Tribune 20080803 'In a novel that tackles serious and uncomfortable subject matter, Cleave's writing makes one laugh and despair in equal measure. (4 stars)' -- Time Out 20080828 'A better book than Chris Cleave's THE OTHER HAND may be published this year, but I wouldn't bet on it. This exquisitely written story of a Nigerian refugee and a British glossy magazine editor is the most powerful novel I've read in a long time... it's also a very funny book about brave, funny people who the reader quickly grows to love... But the heart of the book is Little Bee; naive yet insightful and sophisticated, damaged yet capable of great courage and humour, she is an unforgettable character. I finished THE OTHER HAND in tears, and I still can't get it out of my head. Just read it.' -- The Gloss 20080728 'I felt the same excitement discovering this as I did Marina Lewycka's A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian and Paul Torday's Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. There is an urgency here, an inability to put it down and a deep sense of loss once finished. It is a very special book indeed. Profound, deeply moving and yet light in touch, it explores the nature of loss, hope, love and identity with atrocity its backdrop. Read it and think deeply.' -- Sarah Broadhurst, Bookseller 20080320 'Stunning... a haunting work of art.' -- Newsweek on INCENDIARY 20051101 'Chris Cleave has the ability to create moving and beautiful scenes within a terrifying backdrop. I couldn't put it down; it's subversive, thought-provoking and well-written.' -- Observer, Books of the Year on INCENDIARY 20051101 'Richly sardonic and often disarmingly poignant... How can one fail to be impressed and moved?' -- Guardian on INCENDIARY 20050720 'Cleave's heroine is by turns funny, sad, flawed, sympathetic, both damaged and indomitable, and triumphantly convincing.' -- Sunday Telegraph on INCENDIARY 20050901
Chris Cleave's debut novel INCENDIARY was a prize-winner and international bestseller and his second novel, THE OTHER HAND has found phenomenal success both in the UK and abroad, hitting number one on the New York Times bestseller list. He is married with three children, and lives in Kingston-upon-Thames. He keeps a website at www.chriscleave.com and can be found on twitter.com/chriscleave.