Set in the 1950s, "The Broken Word" is an extraordinary poetic sequence that animates and illuminates a dark, terrifying period in British colonial history. The combination here of language and imagery that feel utterly contemporary, and subject matter - tribal violence and subsequent retribution - that seems almost Homeric, gives the narrative all the febrile energy of classical drama, re-charged and re-imagined. Tom has returned to his family's farm in Kenya for the summer vacation between school and university when he is swept up by the events of the Mau Mau uprising. Beginning with sporadic, brutal attacks by dispossessed Kikuyu on the British now occupying their land - attacks often executed with nothing more than traditional panga knives - the conflict escalates as the terrified British stop at nothing to re-impose order, eventually driving most of the Kikuyu population into the prison camps of what has become known as 'Britain's Gulag'.As Tom is propelled into violence and horror the poem mutates into a meditation on the inheritance of conflict, the destruction of innocence and the impossibility of afterwards saying what one has seen.
Written with rigour, intelligence, and a fierce, unsparing clarity, this is profound, lyrical work with that rare confidence and thrilling originality that announce the arrival of a significant new voice.
Buy Broken Word book by Adam Foulds from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(197mm x 129mm x 8mm)
Jonathan Cape Ltd
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
Author Biography - Adam Foulds
Adam Foulds was born in 1974, took a Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia and now lives in South London. His first novel, The Truth About These Strange Times, was published in 2007 and his book-length narrative poem, The Broken Word, the following year. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed, The Quickening Maze. He was named the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year in 2008 and named as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists 2013.