The Shadow King (Hardback)Maaza Mengiste (author)
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Exquisitely written and immensely powerful, Mengiste’s tale of womanhood and war during the Italian invasion of Abyssinia transforms one woman’s remarkable experiences into a microcosm of conflict as a whole. Shot through with evocative imagery and beautiful, limpid prose, The Shadow King only enhances Mengiste’s growing reputation.
With the threat of Mussolini's army looming, recently orphaned Hirut struggles to adapt to her new life as a maid. Her new employer, Kidane, an officer in Emperor Haile Selassie's army, rushes to mobilise his strongest men before the Italians invade. Hirut and the other women long to do more than care for the wounded and bury the dead.
When Emperor Haile Selassie goes into exile and Ethiopia quickly loses hope, it is Hirut who offers a plan to maintain morale. She helps disguise a gentle peasant as the emperor and soon becomes his guard, inspiring other women to take up arms. But how could she have predicted her own personal war, still to come, as a prisoner of one of Italy's most vicious officers?
The Shadow King is a gorgeously crafted and unputdownable exploration of female power, and what it means to be a woman at war.
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Number of pages: 448
Weight: 554 g
Dimensions: 220 x 144 x 40 mm
'This tale of war, women and survival is unforgettable - I suspect I won't read anything more moving this year.' - The Saturday Times
'The Shadow King is a beautiful and devastating work; of women holding together a world ripping itself apart. They will slip into your dreams and overtake your memories' - Marlon James
'With epic sweep and dignity, Mengiste has lifted this struggle into legend, along with the women who fought in it. Beautiful, horrifying, elegant and haunted, The Shadow King is a modern classic' - Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less
'The Shadow King is incredible. I've read nothing like it before. There is war, love, betrayal, history and the present day wrapped in the hearts and minds of complex characters. Maaza Mengiste rises as Toni Morrison rests. The baton has been passed and taken deftly' - Lemn Sissay
'A brilliant novel, lyrically lifting history towards myth. It's also compulsively readable. I devoured it in two days' - Salman Rushdie
'Lyrical, remarkable ... Breathtakingly skillful ... The reader feels ... In the steady hands of a master ... Hirut [is] as indelible and compelling a hero as any I've read in years' - The New York Times
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