Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala… the film?

Yes, yes, yes! Uzodinma Iweala’s debut novel, Beasts of No Nation: A Novel (2005) is being adapted for the big screen and will be showing in select theaters (in the U.S) and available worldwide on Netflix next month – October 16th 2015! Beasts of No Nation: A novel (which is a title adopted from Fela Kuti’s 1989 album) was released 10 years ago, but the haunting novel is still on the minds of readers who’ve enjoyed the book! Have you read Beasts of No Nation: A novel yet?
Beasts of No Nation 

Check out the synopsis: 

In this stunning debut novel, Agu, a young boy in an unnamed West African nation, is recruited into a unit of guerrilla fighters as civil war engulfs his country. Haunted by his father’s own death at the hands of militants, Agu is vulnerable to the dangerous yet paternal nature of his new commander. While the war rages on, Agu becomes increasingly divorced from the life he had known before the conflict started—a life of school friends, church services, and time with his family still intact.

In a powerful, strikingly original voice that vividly captures Agu’s youth and confusion, Uzodinma Iweala has produced a harrowing, inventive, and deeply affecting novel.

Beasts of No Nation: A Novel has been required reading for a Political Science class: African Politics (PSCI 0202) at my alma mater, Middlebury College. I never registered for that class but I decided to start reading the book on my own back in 2011, and never finished it as I was busy with finals at the time. When I was the President of the African Students’ Association at Middlebury – UMOJA, we invited Iweala to our ‘Touch of Africa Week’ where he gave an enlightening talk on “What, Who is an ‘Authentic’ African?” After the talk we discussed his novel Beasts of No Nation, African identity and other topics pertaining to our beloved continent over dinner at a professor’s house. Check out the (grainy) pictures below:

I’m excited and proud of Uzo! It must be every author’s dream to have their novel made into a film – it’s a big deal! I’m still fascinated at Iweala’s ability to embody the sentiments of a child soldier in the novel, since his background of being a Harvard graduate seems far from the unfortunate struggle of being a child victim of civil war. That takes real talent and a vivid imagination! I will definitely finish reading Beasts of No Nation: A Novel before I watch the film. Films don’t usually capture the essence of the books they are based on. However, I’m confident this film adaptation will do Beasts of No Nation: A Novel justice. The film is set in the Eastern Region of Ghana and is directed by Emmy Award winner Cary FukunagaGolden Globe Award winning actor, Idris Elba plays the main warlord in the film and the talented Ghanaian actress, Ama K. Abebrese plays the child soldier – Agu’s mother. With all that talent in one film, I have faith that it will be superb!

Check out the trailer for the film below:

BeastsOfNoNationPoster1 BeastsOfNoNationPoster2

Purchase Beasts of No Nation: A Novel on Amazon

Girls at War and Other Stories by Chinua Achebe

Date Read: August 5th 2014

Published: September 1991

Publisher: First Anchor Books

Pages: 121


The Blurb

Full of characteristic energy and authenticity, the stories in this classic collection capture the remarkable talent of one of the world’s most acclaimed writers and storytellers.

Here we read of an ambitious farmer who is suddenly shunned by his village when a madman exacts his humiliating revenge; a young nanny who is promised an education by her well-to-do employers, only to be cruelly cheated out of it; and in three fiercely observed stories about the Nigerian civil war, we are confronted with the economic ethnic, cultural and religious tensions that continue to rack modern Africa. Displaying an astonishing range of experience, Chinua Achebe deftly takes us inside the heart and soul of people whose pride and ideals must compete with the simple struggle to survive.


Review – ★★★ (3 stars)

This is a decent collection of stories by Achebe.

My favorite stories were:

The Madman‘ – a tale of a once prominent man in a village who is humiliated by a vengeful madman. What a shameful but hilarious story!

Marriage is a Private Affair‘ – a story of a loving couple who are trying to convince their relatives of their forbidden love, as they are from different ethnic groups. I liked how Achebe wrote on the challenges of intermarriages between people of different ethnic groups especially as it is a problem we still face in Africa today.

Girls at War‘ – a tragic love story during the civil war in Nigeria. The story is centered on the short-lived romance between a militia girl and the Minister of Justice, living on the edge during the dangerous times of the civil war.

I don’t think I enjoyed reading this collection of short stories. Achebe’s writing style and storytelling manner were phenomenal as usual, but I wasn’t really interested in the subject matter of most of the stories. To be honest, I purchased the book because I loved the book cover design! And I must say, I still like the book cover design more than the stories, hahaa! But I do recommend this book- especially to the die-hard Chinua Achebe fans…this would be a fast read for you.

★★★ (3 stars) – Good book. I recommend it, I guess.

Purchase Girls at War and Other Stories on Amazon