Children Are Diamonds by Edward Hoagland
An African Apocalypse

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Hoagland’s novel evokes the time and place with haunting imagery. Here again is the raw beauty of a land where all development has been frozen by the fighting.
-NY Times

Synopsis

This is not the Africa of Isak Dinesen, nor the Africa of Joy Adamson. This is the Africa of civil wars and tribal massacres, where the Lord’s Resistance Army recruits child-soldiers after forcing them to kill their parents and eat their hearts. The aid workers who voluntarily subject themselves to life here are a breed of their own.

Meet Hickey, an American school teacher in his late thirties, an American school teacher who burns his bridges with the school board and goes to Africa as an aid worker. Working for an agency in Nairobi, one of his jobs is to drive food and medical supplies to Southern Sudan to an aid station run by Ruth, a middle-aged woman, who acts as nurse, doctor, hospice worker, feeder of starving children, and witness. Ruth is gruff but efficient, and Hickey, who is usually drawn to youth and beauty, is struck by her devotion. Returning to Nairobi, he can’t forget what he has seen.

When the violence and chaos in the region increase to a fever pitch and aid workers are being slaughtered or evacuated, Hickey is asked to save Ruth overland by Jeep. What happens to them and the children that have joined their journey is the searing climax of this novel. Hoagland paints an unflinching portrait of a living hell at its worst, and yet amid that suffering there is hope in the form of humility, sacrifice, and life-affirming friendship.

 

About Edward Hoagland

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Edward Hoagland has written more than twenty books, including the travel memoirs Alaskan Travels and African Calliope, the essay collections Walking the Dead Diamond River and The Tugman's Passage, and the novels Cat Man and Seven Rivers West. He worked in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus while attending Harvard, and later traveled the world writing for a number of national magazines including Harper's and Esquire. He has received numerous prestigious literary awards, and taught at many American colleges and universities. He is a native New Yorker, who now divides his time between Martha's Vineyard and Burton, Vermont.
 
Published June 1, 2013 by Arcade Publishing. 241 pages
Genres: Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Children Are Diamonds
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on Apr 29 2013

Hoagland’s style is dense and tightly packed, each sentence weighted with significance, which makes the carnage and heartbreak he dramatizes all the more powerful.

Read Full Review of Children Are Diamonds: An Afr... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by JOSHUA HAMMER on Jul 19 2013

Hoagland’s novel evokes the time and place with haunting imagery. Here again is the raw beauty of a land where all development has been frozen by the fighting.

Read Full Review of Children Are Diamonds: An Afr... | See more reviews from NY Times

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Karen Russo

Karen Russo 5 Sep 2013

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