Beasts of No Nation, Uzodinma Iweala
In Uzodinma Iweala's first novel, Beasts of No Nation, Iweala strips away all unnecessary words to leave a small, powerful story about a boy, Agu, and the war he battles in Africa. The country the story is set isn't named, but that doesn't matter: the story is a universal tale about what war can do to a child.
The most we often hear about war-torn African nations are the body counts. Few personal stories are shared to a wide audience, and when they are, it's easy to flip the page.
But Iweala's novel doesn't allow the reader to dismiss it quickly. Iweala captures the voice of a boy, who starts as an observer of a war but becomes a participant--a beast, he calls himself.
The sad truth of the novel is it's probably the tale of thousands of African boys caught in wars unseen and ignored in the West.