You Will Be Safe Here

You Will Be Safe Here

Written by: Barr, Damian

From the author of the acclaimed memoir Maggie &Me comes a stunning debut novel about the legacies of abuse, redemption, and the strength of the human spirit, set in South Africa over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

South Africa, 1901: At the height of the Second Boer War, Sarah van der Watt and her son are taken from their farm by force to Bloemfontein Concentration Camp where, the English promise, they will be safe.

Johannesburg, 2010: Sixteen-year-old outsider Willem just wants to be left alone with his books and his dog. Worried he's not turning out right, his mother and her boyfriend send him to New Dawn Safari Training Camp. Here they “make men out of boys.” Guaranteed.

You Will Be Safe Here is a deeply moving novel of two connected parts. Inspired by real events, it uncovers a hidden colonial history and present-day darkness while exploring our capacity for cruelty and kindness.

From the author of the acclaimed memoir Maggie &Me comes a stunning debut novel about the legacies of abuse, redemption, and the strength of the human spirit, set in South Africa over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

South Africa, 1901: At the height of the Second Boer War, Sarah van der Watt and her son are taken from their farm by force to Bloemfontein Concentration Camp where, the English promise, they will be safe.

Johannesburg, 2010: Sixteen-year-old outsider Willem just wants to be left alone with his books and his dog. Worried he's not turning out right, his mother and her boyfriend send him to New Dawn Safari Training Camp. Here they “make men out of boys.” Guaranteed.

You Will Be Safe Here is a deeply moving novel of two connected parts. Inspired by real events, it uncovers a hidden colonial history and present-day darkness while exploring our capacity for cruelty and kindness.

Published By House of Anansi Press Inc - May 7, 2019
Specifications 344 pages | 5.5 in x 8.5 in
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Excerpt

PRAISE FOR DAMIAN BARR AND YOU WILL BE SAFE HERE:

An NPR Book of the Year

“Barr does an admirable job of describing a society struggling to reinvent itself.” — Winnipeg Free Press

“Barr’s facility with language is on display here, and many readers will happily lose themselves in his supple prose.” — LAMBDA Literary Review

“Barr’s writing is strong.” — Toronto Star

“Vivid and informative … This book will sit with you for a long time.” — Sunday Times, FIVE-STAR REVIEW

“Grips you by the throat from its ominous prologue to its shattering conclusion … Barr paints a graphic, compelling picture of a world founded on white entitlement, machismo, racism and homophobia. The novel’s story resonates far beyond South Africa. No one is safe here.” — Saturday Paper

“[Damian Barr] has written a majestic novel that bears witness to the horrors of any war and the ongoing traumas of a peace without reckoning and remembrance.” — Business Day

“Barr traces a history of violence with compassion and a sweeping poetic intensity.” — Sunday Morning Herald

“A harrowing novel delivered with honesty and empathy.” — LitHub

“Barr shifts between two very different tones with a light touch, maintaining a subtle emotional intelligence throughout.” — Guardian

“Barr has written a novel pleasurably rich with lines that would lose half their power if they lost just one of their words.” — Herald

“A story so powerful and upsetting that it’s a useful reminder of how fiction can illuminate the indignities visited upon those the world has mistreated and then forgotten.” — Irish Times

“A powerfully moving tale that weaves dazzlingly between the Boer war and contemporary South Africa.” — Observer

“Barr is a natural storyteller, and each distinct part of the book is moving.” — Times of London

“A gripping, heartbreaking tale of uncomfortable histories and the resilience of love.” — Graham Norton (via @grahnort)

“Completely gripping and profoundly moving — you care for every character. Each of the very different stories is deeply affecting, and they’re woven together in such unexpected and powerful ways. Barr handles the most difficult material with the lightest touch.” — Maggie O’Farrell, author of The Hand That First Held Mine and This Must Be the Place

“Brutal, haunting, redemptive, and with not an ounce of fat left on it. Beautiful.” — Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You

“Epic … Immersive, moving, horrifying, and beautiful. You will LOVE it.” —Marian Keyes, author of This Charming Man

“Devastating and formally ingenious, it traces the paths by which historical grief engenders present violence … A vitally brave and luminously compassionate book.” — Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

“Insightful and compassionate, open-hearted and unblinking. Barr gives us three unforgettable stories in this powerful, groundbreaking book.” — Amy Bloom

“Sweeping yet intimate, heart-breaking yet often very funny … This book confirms Barr as one of our most brilliant and big-hearted writers.” — Alex Preston, author of The Bleeding City

“It’s rare for a novel to go so deep that you come out of reading it a different person from when you went in. Damian Barr’s investigation of a part of South Africa's history the British have been trying to forget for many many years is such a book. It was a very brave book to write, and parts of it call for some courage to read, but nothing more unusual and impressive has appeared for years.” — Diana Athill

“This would be an achievement for a third or fourth novel; for a first, it’s an astonishing one. Barr’s handling of his bravely chosen material — the conjoined shames of British and Afrikaaner history — is deft and the results will haunt you.” — Patrick Gale, author of Take Nothing With You“As unexpected as it is unsettling, both in the telling and in the way that telling works to reveal hidden trails through the points of light and darkness.” — Aminatta Forna“Few writers can wind you with a word. But Damian Barr doesn’t just do that, he tickles and then floors you, delights only to devastate, within a single phrase.” — Patrick Strudwick, acclaimed journalist and activist