Book Review: The Other Hand by Chris Cleave

“Death, of course, is a refuge. It’s where you go when a new name, or a mask and cape, can no longer hide you from yourself. It’s where you run to when none of the principalities of your conscience will grant you asylum.”

--Little Bee, Chris Cleave

 Brit Chris Cleave published his book The Other Hand, alternatively titled Little Bee, in 2008. The story, which has two distinct narratives, centers on a Nigerian seeking sanctuary and a British magazine editor who first cross paths in the Niger Delta oil battle and eventually reunite in England. Inspired by his brief job at an asylum detention facility while still a university student, Cleave wrote the novel to try and humanize the situation of asylum seekers in Britain. The story looks at how the asylum system treats immigrants as well as globalization, political violence, human responsibility, and British colonialism.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

We don't want to tell you what happens in this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it.
Nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it so we will just say this:
This is the story of two women.
Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice.
Two years later, they meet again - the story starts there...
Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.

My reaction to this novel...

I have finally finished this book. To be quite honest, I tried to read this book last year, but I may not have been in the right state of mind to appreciate a novel of this kind. It took me a while to digest and appreciate the story. I didn’t even bother to write a review of this book because I couldn’t understand it before, so I put it in my rack.

Then, last week, I was looking for a book to read at that time, and this is the first book I’ve ever seen. I debated doing so, but I made myself read it once more. I thus started reading it and am currently unable to stop. To fully understand the importance and the seriousness of the sentiments that were jammed in them, I ultimately read every chapter cover to cover. This book has several very amazing moments, and I especially enjoyed the chapters written from Little Bee’s point of view.

Little Bee, the primary character, has such a funny and humorous voice. I felt scared after reading about her terrible tragedies, which made me want to stop reading and trying to comprehend it but also made me want to keep going and learn more. Her tone seemed sincere, and I came to the conclusion that the book may have been even more amazing if it had been presented entirely from her point of view. After completing it today, I put the book down knowing that it will haunt me for a very long time. The snippet cautions readers not to reveal too much of the narrative since, in my opinion, this book is a spine-tingler.

I’d like not to offer you any more details about the narrative since I think it would be better for you to read it for yourself and discover just how thrilling it can be. Without a doubt, this book is not something you should read quickly. This novel, like the innumerable others I’ve been reading lately, is about humanity. Furthermore, this book is excruciating. In reality, it is stressful. The plot of this book will teach its readers that life is typically chaotic and that horrible things may happen at any time, but despite the fact that it is not a happy story, Little Bee maintained her genuine attitude and sentiments of miracle throughout everything, which makes the story pleasant.

This work is a worthwhile read, and I wholeheartedly suggest it to anybody searching for a story in a genre that deals with immigrants. The novel will expose you to stressful circumstances as well as a glimpse into the life of refugees, which was eye-opening for me. I’m not familiar with the author, but I was astounded by how he made me feel as if I were within the novel. That I am the only one who observed everything. It’s an amazing but terrifying experience for me. It’s a good thing I opted to reread this novel.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐(4/5)


Disclaimer: Booksreadbyhannel is not a business website. The opinions expressed here are unbiased and based only on my own feelings and reactions while reading the books I featured here in my blog. My reviews reflect my utmost sincerity. I paid for the books I review here out of my own pocket. Books provided by authors and publishers are otherwise specified.