Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Other Hand/Little Bee by Chris Cleave

On my list of books to read this summer was Little Bee by Chris Cleave, because the first time I came across it in a Target about a year or two back I knew that I wanted to read it. So this summer when I found a used copy at Hasting's I bought it without giving it a second thought.

The Other Hand, also known as Little Bee, is a 2008 novel by British author Chris Cleave. It is a dual narrative story about a Nigerianasylum-seeker and a British magazine editor, who meet during the oil conflict in the Niger Delta, and are re-united in England several years later. Cleave, inspired as a university student by his temporary employment in an asylum detention centre, wrote the book in an attempt to humanise the plight of asylum-seekers in Britain. The novel examines the treatment of refugees by the asylum system, as well as issues of British colonialismglobalization, political violence and personal accountability. (source: Wikipedia)

This book will immediately draw you in and leave you on the edge of your seat as the character's, Little Bee and Sarah, recall their memories and navigate the reader through their present struggles. I was a puddle for a good portion of this book and I'm okay with that. Because if there's one indication of a a writer's capability to keep a reader's attention, it's turning them into a massive blubbering mess. Cleave's writing is amazingly fluid and simultaneously addicting and his character's only become a part of you, right down to little Charlie who refuses to  take off his Batman costume. The innocence of Charlie is a sweet reminder that even though there is a myriad of bad things that happen in the world that there is still some good and hope for humanity out there, even if the murkiness of one's life is blinding. 

I highly recommend this book, though if you're already kind of depressed then you should prepare yourself with a box of tissues and maybe some chocolates because your heart will be ripped out, stomped on and then slowly put back together again. 

5/5 typewriters



  1. Oh that sounds so good! To the library I go…….

  2. I agree - if a writer can induce some kind of physical reaction in me, then I know they've done their job well. The best books are the ones that give you goosebumps, make you cry, or just leave you with a book hangover once all is said and done :)

    1. Oh this book definitely lives up to all of those things. I had a severe book hangover after reading this book and 'A Long Way Down' but Nick Hornby.


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