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Amplifying BIPOC and LGBQT+ Voices

You Will Be Safe Here
By (author): Damian Barr
Damian Barr


Anansi International - Toronto



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
May 07, 2019
$22.95 CAD


8.5in x 5.5 x 0.8 in | 0.9 lb

Page Count:

344 pages
House of Anansi Press Inc
Anansi International
FICTION / Literary
  • Short Description
A stunning debut novel about the legacies of abuse, redemption, and the strength of the human spirit, set in South Africa over two centuries.

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.

Damian Barr’s writing has appeared in The Times, the Independent, the Telegraph, the Guardian, and Granta. His book Get It Together: A Guide to Surviving Your Quarterlife Crisis was published in 2005, and he has co-written two plays. He lives in Brighton, U.K.

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

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

Barr’s writing is strong. - Toronto Star

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

Vivid and informative … This book will sit with you for a long time. - Sunday Times

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

[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

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

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