The long-awaited novel from the bestselling, award-winning author of ‘Evening’ is a literary tour de force set in war-torn Africa.
The Lord’s Resistance Army, led by warlord Joseph Kony, has terrorised northern Uganda for years, mutilating and murdering people as they raid villages, kidnapping and raping children to expand Kony’s ‘family’.
This is the fate in store for Esther. She is one of 139 students abducted from St Mary’s School. When their headmistress tracks them down she must accept a dreadful bargain; most of the girls will be released, only if thirty remain with the rebels. Esther is one of the thirty. And eventually she will have to learn to live with all she has seen and done to survive.
Jane is an American writer, observing the glamour of Kenyan ex-pat life while she waits for transport to the border. She has come to write about what’s happening to Uganda’s children. But her fragile emotional state will be sorely tried by her experiences.
In unflinching prose, Minot gives us razor-sharp portraits of two women struggling to wrest meaning from events that test them both in unimaginable ways. Intense and stunningly evocative, ‘Thirty Girls’ is Minot’s most ambitious novel yet.
Reviews of Thirty Girls
- ‘”Thirty Girls” is based on one of the strangest and best-known episodes from that bloody period in Ugandan history … What is unnerving about “Thirty Girls” is how easily Minot’s style fits this much more extreme and disturbing subject matter. The stark tone and structure of short, vivid scenes seem more appropriate to the tale of traumatised schoolgirls than they do to the ordinary miseries of rejection or miscommunication … Minot pulls off the account of things that might seem so horrific as to be unspeakable’ Lidija Haas, Sunday Times
- ‘A heart-rending novel based on horrific real-life event. A punch in the gut over and over again’ Chris Pavone, Metro
- ‘Admirable … ‘Thirty Girls’ is a malignant picture of a country that gnaws away at its own children, and of the impotence of those who watch from the sidelines’ India Ross, Financial Times
- ‘Minot’s gripping novel weaves together the stories of a Ugandan teen abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army and an American journalist covering the war’ Metro
- ‘Wrenching … Suspenseful … By far her best’ New York Times
- ‘A novel of quiet humanity and probing intelligence … Minot is particularly good on the topology of desire … But it’s the story of what happened to those 30 abducted girls that shows Minot’s gifts as a writer … Minot takes huge questions and examines them with both a delicate touch and a cleareyed, unyielding scrutiny’ New York Times Book Review
- ‘Exceptional … Represents a broadening vision for Minot … She has earned a trademark on the subject of desire’ Elle