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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, January 28

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Chicago Public Library Sun Jan 19 2014

Radiance of Tomorrow, Tuesday

ishmael_beah.jpgIshmael Beah's Radiance of Tomorrow is a return in a few different ways. It's the Sierra Leonean's second book; it revisits the war-torn homeland he first wrote about in memoir A Long Way Gone; and it tells the tale of Sierra Leoneans coming back to their country and trying to rebuild. This time around Beah's working with fictional characters rather than his own incomprehensibly brutal adolescence, and as the title suggests, there's more room for optimism. In interviews, he's suggested that former child soldiers like himself may gain less from forgetting and "rehabilitation" than from simply refocusing the survival skills they've had to learn.

In the intro to Radiance of Tomorrow, Beah mentions being inspired by his homeland's oral tradition--making the public reading a natural form for him. He'll talk about the book on Tuesday, January 21, at 6pm at the Harold Washington Library Center's Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, 400 S. State. Audiences will get a glimpse not only into Sierra Leone's tragic history, but into the arresting beauty of its native narrative forms--for instance, Beah notes, "In Mende, you wouldn't say 'night came suddenly; you would say 'the sky rolled over and changed its sides.'" Admission is free, and Beah will stick around to sign books afterward.

Photo of the author by John Madere.

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