Of Beasts and Beings – Ian Holding (Simon & Schuster)

    Holding’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed Unfeeling (2005) is a story divided into two parts, with each character enduring the toils of life in modern Zimbabwe just to exist.

     

    The vivid descriptions, both physical and emotive, are particularly poignant in bringing the war-torn villages to life. The central characters form is misleading in part one, which disorientates parts of the story, but this unpredictability is clever and defines it from other stories around at the moment.

     

    The daily activities Holding covers may appear to be a simple story but the inclusion of moral dilemmas and tragedies that are treated amongst the norm add depth to the honesty the characters try to uphold.

     

    The intertwining of the two stories seamlessly develops a third story, which creates the feeling of a never-ending journey these characters continue to face.

     

    It is stories like Of Beasts & Beings that are written in the hope to open up the blinkered view of the day-to-day life of scavenging and surviving, which remains a reality in many parts of the world. It is fast-paced and will keep the reader ineterested, which is always a good sign.

     

    Many readers of Of Beasts & Beings and the like may not physically set foot in places such as Zimbabwe in their lifetime so we rely on the literary world to provide stories that are written with truth.

     

    Brutal at times, the much needed honesty to allows our minds to travel and Holding triumphs in taking the readers there.

     

    Of Beasts and Beings is available from Amazon

     

    Reviewed by Ella Pocock

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