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The disturbing tale of two Senegalese friends and soldiers in the Great War and the urge to madness and revenge that subsumes one when the other is killed, Diop’s astonishing novel is both a tribute to friendship and a passionate condemnation of armed conflict.
Winner of the International Booker Prize 2021
Alfa and Mademba are two of the many Senegalese soldiers fighting in the Great War. Together they climb dutifully out of their trenches to attack France's German enemies whenever the whistle blows, until Mademba is wounded, and dies in a shell hole with his belly torn open.
Without his more-than-brother, Alfa is alone and lost amidst the savagery of the conflict. He devotes himself to the war, to violence and death, but soon begins to frighten even his own comrades in arms. How far will Alfa go to make amends to his dead friend?
At Night All Blood is Black is a hypnotic, heartbreaking rendering of a mind hurtling towards madness.
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Number of pages: 160
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm
'An extraordinary novel, full of sadness, rage and beauty' - Sarah Waters
'So incantatory and visceral I don't think I'll ever forget it' - Ali Smith, The Guardian
'It is an intense exploration of the dehumanising effect of war and colonialism. This slight book explodes with extraordinary force - readers will not forget it in a hurry' - The Times
'More than a century after World War I, a great new African writer is asking these questions in a spare yet extraordinary novel about this bloody stain on human history' - Chigozie Obioma, The New York Times Book Review
'An unrelenting take on war, race, masculinity, and colonialism... Diop's short, sharp, and serrated novel is a visceral dramatization of how our humanity and inhumanity are forever intertwined' - Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer
'A short, powerful novel... Diop presents a world with no firm dividing line between courage and madness, murder and warfare; the most dedicated killers are awarded the Croix de Guerre. Alfa's final transformation, as he attempts to atone for his guilt over the death of his friend, is unexpected, poetic - and chilling' - The Spectator
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“A brief and searing account of the reality of human warfare”
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“Brief, brilliant, brutal”
Stunningly both beautiful and ugly, this novel is painfully short but makes quite an impression in the space of its 145 pages. Well worthy of winning the Booker international prize.
It’d get 5 stars if it was longer.
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