Published: 6 September 2012
Moses, Citizen And Me
When Julia flies in to war-scarred Sierra Leone from London, she is apprehensive about seeing her Uncle Moses for the first time in twenty years. But nothing could have prepared her for her encounter with her eight-year-old cousin, Citizen, a former child soldier, and for the shocking truth of what he has done. Driven by a desire to understand Citizen, Julia takes the disturbed child into the 'bush'. There they meet other child soldiers, and a story-teller, Bemba G., who provides a safe haven for them all and strives to return them to childhood through play, love, story-telling and performance. As Julia gradually rediscovers Africa, the different generations of her family rediscover their bonds. And then Bemba G. directs the child soldiers in a version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, with powerful effect.
‘A novel remarkable for its slowed, measured pulse and its calm analysis, its keenness to promise hope and rehabilitation even after the worst’ Ali Smith
‘A courageous look at what happens to those expendable children ... spirited, sometimes beautiful writing’ Ruth Pavey
‘The civil war in Sierra Leone provides the horrific backdrop in Delia Jarrett-Macauley's debut ... her understated prose a foil to the bleak and disturbing subject matter ... Jarrett-Macauley sensitively establishes Julia's family as a microcosm of the ruptured nation’
‘Lucidly written, the simple horror of peoples' lives comes trickling out over cups of stewed tea and bubbling pots of rice’