Out of Shadows is Jason Wallace’s first novel and is set in Zimbabwe in the 1980s, just after the war for independence.
The main story revolves around a young English boy called Jacklin who, because of his parent’s decision has to move from his home in England to the newly independent Zimbabwe where he is shipped off to boarding school.
His father encourages him to see the new regime as the start of a hopeful future for racial tolerance. But at school he is torn between his black friends and his sympathy for the colonial whites after witnessing the compulsory land seizures by Robert Mugabe’s government.
As the violence and corruption increases and where his generation are now growing up where the hope for change has long since passed, Jacklin eventually finds it all impossible to ignore. He is thus forced into making a decision which has consequences far greater than he could have ever foreseen…
Out of Shadows is a thought-provoking, intriguing, moving and sometimes disturbing novel about coming-of-age, race, bullying and the need to belong in a place far removed from what you know. It explores the question of how different people react to the political changes around them.
About the Author
Jason Wallace has obviously used many of his own experiences to write Out of Shadows. He was born in Cheltenham in 1969 and spent his early years growing up in south-west London until his family moved to Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe as a child, he went to a tough, but excellent boarding school in the aftermath of the war for independence.
Where to Buy Out of Shadows
Amazon, in the UK and US have paperback versions and it is also available in electronic form as a digital Kindle Book version:
More Reviews of the Book
Below are a few of the things that other people have been saying about the novel:
“Out of Shadows is one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read . . . At times chilling and dark, yet strangely hopeful, Out of Shadows is one of those books that I know I’ll revisit in the future . . . I can’t recommend it highly enough.” (Jenny Davies, wondrousreads.com)
“Jason Wallace is a writer to follow – there will hopefully be many books to look out for in the future. In spite of my reservations this is a book to be read, to bury a past that has no place in the new Zimbabwe that remains to be built.” (The Zimbabwean)
(Out of Shadows is) a provocative story, powerfully written. Some may find the themes difficult, the climax shocking, but Wallace has produced a first novel where all the heat and intensity of an African nation in flux burns on every page. He’s a definitely a writer to watch in the future. (The Scotsman, Keith Gray)
Excellent. The latest lacerating addition to the boarding-school-as-living-hell genre…read on if you have the courage. The author attended a similar establishment at the age of 12,and gives every indication of knowing exactly what he is writing about. (Independent on Sunday, Nick Tucker)
“This is one of those rare, outstanding books that when you come to the end you know with certainty you will return to it again. It is also a book that is so hard-hitting and thought provoking you feel compelled to tell everyone you know to read it!” (Browns Books for Students)
“An extraordinary coming-of-age novel… a startlingly original debut… Charting the change from childhood to adulthood against growing political discord gives the novel a sense of urgency, and the book’s intensity, drama and pace leaves a lasting impact.” (The Bookseller)
“Beautifully written.” (Ruth Swindon, Independent on Sunday – Hit List)
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If you have read this book or any other book relating to Zimbabwe or Africa and would like to review it on Chirundu.com, please contact me as I would love to be able to include it on the site.