“At once merciless, poetic, and beautiful, Ian Holding’s Of Beasts and Beings, is a postmodern elegy I won’t soon forget.”—Alice Sebold
“Of Beasts and Beings is a thought-provoking study of the dehumanizing effects of racial violence and oppression.”—The Guardian
“An ending as audacious as it is surprising.”—Daily Mail (UK)
In this searing and timely novel, the devastating effects of a country’s economic and moral collapse provide the backdrop for a story about individual fortitude and conscience. In an unnamed African republic, militiamen seize an innocent captive while he is scavenging for food in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. He is subsequently traded and ransomed and ends up in the hands of another group, whose members include a pregnant woman whom he is forced to carry in a wheelbarrow on a nightmarish and seemingly endless overland journey. This powerful story alternates with the tale of a white schoolteacher who, embittered by the horrific state of his country, is preparing to leave. Before he can do so he must confront his own demons and personal failings. Both men are in danger and both are apparently helpless to control their fates. When these two plotlines brilliantly and surprisingly unite the result is electrifying.
Ian Holding is Zimbabwean schoolteacher based in Harare. His critically acclaimed debut novel, Unfeeling, was published in 2005 and shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2006. Of Beasts and Beings is his second novel.