We are pleased to announce the inaugural winners of our monthly Africa Book Club Short Reads competition. Fifty-three entries were received during the month. So what is our take? In one word – fabulous. When we launched the competition in the last week of July, we didn’t know what to expect. Afterall, this is by no means the richest competition out there. More than the number of entries, what’s impressed us most is the sheer richness of the entries.
By any account, to entitle a début novel “The Book of War” can seem presumptuous. Yet, the book brilliantly lives up to the promise of its ambitious name. For war is everywhere here – but not romanticised with the usual bravery, indestructible friendship and clear divide between the camps of good and evil that justify the violence. No. In a sober style made out of short sentences, hand-picked words and balanced rhythm Whyle shows war for what it really is. A physical ordeal against nature and fellow humans. A defeat of minds and souls. A horror of which the only beauty lays in the vast, unspoiled landscape it is set in. From this ocean of brutality paradoxically emerges a subtle tale that reads as an engaging reflection on manhood and humanity.