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Written by a former war photographer, this book is for anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider, lost in country you desperately want to understand.
Lena, a struggling photographer, flies from London to the war-torn highlands of Angola, after hearing the news of a suspicious explosion. She tries to piece together the reasons behind the disappearance of her sister DJ, but she gets entangled in the country’s conflict for minerals and power.
The book is a love story – actually, stories – crossing conventional lines in a war zone, but it is more than that. It is about working in intense situations, and finding the courage to bear witness to abuses. It is about how people can connect and help others in unexpected ways, despite a threatening landscape. Pacey and suspenseful, the book is ultimately uplifting, although bittersweet.
The novel is hard to categorise. It doesn’t fit in the neat little boxes or genres that the book industry likes. At the heart of it, it is a story about sisters; they are complex and complicated women, with aspects that each has kept hidden from the other.
Inspired by some great works like A Constant Gardener by John Le Carré, and Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the book explores big themes and questions such as: how can we know what is the truth, and what is deception? How much are we shaped by family, and can we ever truly break away from that? If love gives life meaning, what happens when the person you love is taken away?
As a photographer, I have always been drawn to dramatic landscapes, and finding the humanity within. I worked in Angola at the time of the end of the civil war. I flew in planes doing the dangerous spiral described in the beginning chapters. I have interviewed soldiers and warlords, been detained at checkpoints, and photographed children in harrowing condition. So, while this book is a work of fiction, there is a lot of truth in the pages; I hope this will engage you as readers and keep you hooked until the very last line.
Please join us to make it a reality! As Patron, you get a special thank you in the back of the book for supporting the printing of the first edition. If you want to pledge higher support, you can be a Super Patron and get your name with special acknowledgements in the front of the book. Also, for those who are photography collectors, for higher pledges you can receive copies of hand-printed black-and-white landscape photographs from my Humanity in the Landscape series, from Angola and other countries in Africa.
Most importantly, you will know that you were part of making something real, bringing creative writing to print and to life for people to enjoy around the world. Thank you!
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A.B Kyazze is a British-American writer and photographer. She has spent more than 18 years writing and taking photographs on humanitarian crises across the globe in Africa, Asia and Southern Europe. Her work and travels have taken her to Angola, where Into the Mouth of the Lion is set, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Liberia, Uganda, Cape Verde, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Ethiopia, Senegal, South Africa, and other places.
She believes that in any landscape – peace or conflict, urban or rural - exists strong human stories that need to be told. Having focused on non-fiction writing for most of her career, she now draws on her real-life experiences to bring these powerful stories to life in her debut novel.
Her photographs and non-fiction work have been published in travel magazines, The Huffington Post, The Washington Times, Medium and other places. She was long listed for the Mslexia Women’s first novel prize in 2017. She also writes short stories, and was published in the National Anthology of Flash Fiction 2019. She lives in Southeast London with her young family, and is working on a series of novels set in Darfur, Eastern Congo, Paris and London.
Malanje, Angolan Highlands, January 2002
You are thrown backwards by the blast, out of the shack, falling and stumbling.
‘Maria!’ you scream as you scramble back up. You’re clawing your way to the doorway. Inside it is black with orange fragments of flame, spread in a circle.
The smoke pricks your eyes and you cover your mouth and nose with the collar of your shirt. You are crying and shouting at the same time. You smell burnt hair and an awful saturated human scent that you’ve never known before.
‘Maria, where are you, Maria?’
You hear voices outside, people who heard the explosion.
Oh God, Jesus Mary mother of God. Maria looks down at her blackened self and feels intense pain, wetness and emptiness where a solid body used to be. She knows this is bad. She sees the horror on DJ’s face.
She looks away, eyes to the ceiling. As she loses consciousness, she asks: I’m not going to make it Lord, am I?
She gets no reply.
- 13th September 2019 Into the Mouth of the Lion - over 40% funded!
Thank you so much for your interest in and support of Into the Mouth of the Lion! In the first 11 days we’ve raised over 40% of our goal!
If you know of others who are thinking of supporting the book, please do encourage them to pledge soon, as it would be great to keep up the momentum. We have added some new rewards, such as photography lessons, creative writing lessons, and other things that…
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