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Little Family
by Ishmael Beah




Overview -
From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of A Long Way Gone.

A powerful novel about young people living at the margins of society, struggling to replace the homes they have lost with the one they have created together.

Hidden away from a harsh outside world, five young people have improvised a home in an abandoned airplane, a relic of their country's tumultuous past. Elimane, the bookworm, is as street-smart as he is wise. Clever Khoudiemata maneuvers to keep the younger kids--athletic, pragmatic Ndevui, thoughtful Kpindi, and especially their newest member, Namsa--safe and fed. When Elimane makes himself of service to the shadowy William Handkerchief, it seems as if the little family may be able to keep the world at bay and their household intact. But when Khoudi comes under the spell of the "beautiful people"--the fortunate sons and daughters of the elite--the desire to resume an interrupted coming of age and follow her own destiny proves impossible to resist.

A profound and tender portrayal of the connections we forge to survive the fate we're dealt, Little Family marks the further blossoming of a unique global voice.

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More About Little Family by Ishmael Beah

 
 
 

Overview

From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of A Long Way Gone.

A powerful novel about young people living at the margins of society, struggling to replace the homes they have lost with the one they have created together.

Hidden away from a harsh outside world, five young people have improvised a home in an abandoned airplane, a relic of their country's tumultuous past. Elimane, the bookworm, is as street-smart as he is wise. Clever Khoudiemata maneuvers to keep the younger kids--athletic, pragmatic Ndevui, thoughtful Kpindi, and especially their newest member, Namsa--safe and fed. When Elimane makes himself of service to the shadowy William Handkerchief, it seems as if the little family may be able to keep the world at bay and their household intact. But when Khoudi comes under the spell of the "beautiful people"--the fortunate sons and daughters of the elite--the desire to resume an interrupted coming of age and follow her own destiny proves impossible to resist.

A profound and tender portrayal of the connections we forge to survive the fate we're dealt, Little Family marks the further blossoming of a unique global voice.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780735211773
  • ISBN-10: 0735211779
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books
  • Publish Date: April 2020
  • Page Count: 272
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

Little Family

King’s property, king’s property, everything is correct. Elimane, Khoudiemata, Ndevui, Kpindi and Namsa—a family born of necessity, rather than blood—whistle this phrase to signal to one another, warning against potential invaders in their postcolonial African nest. Living by their wits, the group manages to eke out something approaching survival in the hulk of an abandoned airplane, a self-contained minisociety at the fringes of a much larger, glaringly dysfunctional and indiscriminately hostile one. 

In Little Family, Ishmael Beah, author of the bestselling A Long Way Gone, draws a vivid, disturbing and yet life-affirming picture of five young people who band together when abandoned by their families, their government and even society itself. Fortune, they discover early on, favors the prepared. First, Elimane hooks up with a mysterious figure he calls William Handkerchief, who employs the group to render certain confidential—and possibly illegal—services. Not long thereafter, Khoudiemata is able to deploy a combination of beauty and backbone that lands her among the unnamed country’s smart set. 

At one juncture, a former professor and government official turned rabble-rouser delivers an impassioned speech with sentiments shared by many in former colonies: “Look at all you fools, including me, celebrating an Independence Day we didn’t fight for. Some foreigners who didn’t own this land decided that today you were free in a land where your ancestors lived before they arrived. This is why we are not free, because we have allowed someone else to decide when and how we should be free.” With such a universal message, Little Family could easily have been set in Mumbai or Hong Kong, London or New York City—any place where untold riches exist cheek-by-jowl with soul-crushing poverty.

Sometimes, as both Elimane and Khoudiemata discover, all it takes is a chance meeting and the skill to deliver an essential commodity at exactly the right time to propel someone from the outside into the inner circle. And for myriad reasons, it might not be easy—or even possible—to ever go back. But every bird is forced at some point to abandon its nest, and people are much the same—even if, unlike the song, everything is not correct. 

 

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