Song for Night: A Novella

By Chris Abani

"Not for the reason that Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird or Agota Kristof’s computing device Trilogy has there been the sort of harrowing novel approximately what it’s prefer to be a teenager in a struggle. That Chris Abani is ready to locate humanity, mercy, or even, certain, forgiveness, amid such devastation is whatever of a miracle.”—Rebecca Brown, writer of The finish of Youth

"The second you input those pages, you step right into a appealing and terrifying dream. you're within the fingers of a grasp, a literary shaman. Abani casts his spell so completely—so devastatingly—you emerge cleansed, redeemed, and completely haunted."—Brad Kessler, writer of Birds in Fall

Part Inferno, half Paradise Lost, and half Sunjiata epic, Song for Night is the tale of a West African boy soldier’s lyrical, terrifying, but attractive trip during the nightmare panorama of a brutal struggle looking for his misplaced platoon. The reader is led by way of the unvoiced protagonist who, as a part of a land mine-clearing platoon, had his vocal chords minimize, a circulation to maintain those kids from screaming whilst blown up, and thereby distracting the opposite minesweepers. The ebook is written in a ghostly voice, with every one bankruptcy headed by means of a line of the original signal language those youngsters invented. This e-book is not like anything ever written approximately an African war.

Chris Abani is a Nigerian poet and novelist and the writer of The Virgin of Flames, Becoming Abigail (a New York Times Editor’s Choice), and GraceLand (a number of the Today Show booklet membership and winner of the 2005 PEN/Hemingway Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award). His different prizes contain a PEN Freedom to write down Award, a Prince Claus Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. He lives and teaches in California.

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A educate Is Forearms again and Forth Like Pistons This village, not anything greater than an previous water cease for the teach, is not any extra. All that I see is the rubble of a few huts. there's just one standing—roofless, yet humped there within the evening, its sticking out sticks and poles and crumbling earthen physique supply it the glance of an elephant’s skeleton. I pause through it, leaning opposed to a pole. This trek of mine is getting an increasing number of ridiculous, i believe. i'm ordinarily relocating from one scene of previous trauma to a different, the distances among them, although huge, have collapsed to the span of a suggestion, and my platoon is ever elusive. i'm completely careworn, yet my desire—which is greater than my have to locate my platoon, but wrapped into it—is relentless in propelling me ahead. i glance at my watch. Ten mins, it says. Ten mins to or after, i can't inform. Nor the hour; nonetheless, there's reassurance in taking a look at it. I got here right here from the river, from that grotesque scene of brimstone, simply because whereas making my method during the wooded area, I heard the whistle of a teach. If i will be able to hitch a trip it's going to make my growth quicker. yet now that i'm right here i ponder whether it is the proper selection. round me, darkness covers every thing in a thick blanket of peppercorns. sometimes the wind strikes a cloud and the moon spills silver over the black. That’s how I see the gradual snake of the educate impending. by the point it reaches me, i'm crouched by means of the song. The educate strikes slowly and one could get a foothold and pull myself up. The shipment motor vehicle i'm now hunched in is empty, yet i will be able to odor straw and animals. in the course of the open door i will see extra villages as we move: huts crouching into the floor; orchards flowering in candy scents; ponds; the river back; forests; extra huts; a city with electrical energy, the neon someway vulgar in mild of the warfare, the tune blaring in apologetic spurts; a straggly line of refugees jogging, hugging the tree line, heading for a few nonetheless far away wish. The educate starts off to sluggish and pulls to a cease in a abandoned station. sunrise is simply ripping night’s textile, stars shedding as dew. A flickering hurricane lantern sways lightly from the station-master’s quarters, its mild already subtle through the birthing solar. i do know i must get off right here. within the fragile solar, a lady is status at the platform, scrutinizing the educate. Her head jerks each time a door opens, yet she turns away whilst she sees me and makes the signal of the pass. i can't communicate, and along with her again grew to become she can't see me signal, so i've got no manner of reassuring her. whatever within the means she stands jogs my memory of myself, continuously looking for whatever. I step from the platform onto the dusty street affected by tank carcasses like an elephant graveyard. whilst I flip again to examine the station, by means of a few trick of the sunshine the educate has rusted over, the station fallen into destroy, and the bombed-out music coiled in on itself like spaghetti and lined in plants that crawls all over the place in a hurry of eco-friendly. i do know it can’t be real although, I simply got here from there.

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