Review of 'The Other Hand'

The Other Hand by Chris Cleave

the_other_hand.jpg “Little Bee” is a refugee from Nigeria who leaves a detention facility in England seeking out the couple, Sarah and Andrew, she met on a fateful day on a beach in her country where life changing events took place. Sarah and Andrew have a pleasant life in Kingston with their son Charlie, or, as he prefers to be known “Batman”. When “Little Bee” returns their life is thrown into turmoil and will neve be the same again.

Told in alternating chapters by “Little Bee” and “Sarah”, “The Other Hand” questions how the English see refugees and the lies we tell ourselves. The horror of “Little Bees” sorry is hard to take but equally hard is the reaction of the English couple whose fateful meeting on a Nigerian beach changes them all forever. There are many mysteries here that are gradually revealed as the book progresses with a dramatic finale that comes as quite a shock to the reader. The chapters often feel long and it takes a bit to get used to Little Bee's voice which contrasts dramatically with Sarah's. There is some humour here but this is easily overshadowed with a deepening feeling of dread meaning this is not exactly easy reading but worth sticking with to the very end.

“The Other Hand” is a provocative novel that may prove a wakeup call to the tragedy of refugees hoping for a new life in the UK. Not an easy read this feels like a honest but tragic story that echoes the reality of modern life and the secrets we hide away.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2021-06-13

Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: Scepter

Publication Date: 2008

ISBN: 9780340963425