Cover Image: Descent Into Night

Descent Into Night

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Member Reviews

Descent Into Night by Edem Awumey and translated by Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott from the original French is the fascinating story of a man imprisoned for standing up to his government.  At times, I wasn’t sure if I was listening to prose or poetry.  Awumey’s writing style is lovely.

Synopsis:
Ito Baraka is an African man who is inspired to action his college professors.  Ito believes that his voice will make a difference, and he sets about to affect change in his country.  He and his friends rehearse a controversial play in public places and distribute leaflets under cover of darkness.

However, his hero’s journey is short-lived.  Baraka was arrested and sent to a prison camp where he was starved, tortured, raped, and interrogated.  He was one of the lucky ones because he escaped with his life.  But no matter how far he runs from the prison, he can never escape survivor’s guilt. 

Story Review:
Descent Into Night is told in autobiographical format.  I found myself wondering if this was a true story.  It took a few chapters for me to get into this book.  Once I did, I was entranced.  Descent Into Night is a disturbing and haunting tale.  It is hard to look into the mind of a man who can never truly escape his prison. 
Somehow this book is not depressing.  After reading it, I felt hopeful and thankful.  Hopeful that Edem Awumey’s beautiful mind exists to write more stories.  Thankful that I was born into an amazing family within the borders of a free country.

Narration Review:
Kevin Hanchard narrates Descent Into Night.  Hanchard’s style is beautiful and dramatic, if not a tad bit distracting.  I caught myself thinking about his narrative style instead of listening to the book a few times.

Sensitivity Warnings:
Descent Into Night contains graphic torture, drug addiction, and a hard look at the mental struggle to overcome hopelessness.  A struggle that you can’t always win. 

Source:
I received a free copy of this book at my request in exchange for an honest review.
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I’m sure there’s an audience that will adore this book but I’m not one of them. This is one of those stories that gets lost in the poetic yet pretentious prose. The choppy and over descriptive writing sounded beautiful and lulling on the audiobook but made it difficult to dig into the plot. There were moments of clarity in which the MC, Ito, shares memories of violence, torture and abuse of power in his native African.country. These experiences then shape his future as an alcoholic and failed playwright living in Canada years later. 

The story itself is sad, tragic and heartbreaking with some graphic scenes that will most likely offer an emotional punch to even seasoned readers. Overall, it is a story that will resonate with readers who enjoy descriptive lyrical prose who are looking for a haunting and atmospheric historical fiction.

I received an advanced audio copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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