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Harmattan Paperback – 7 May 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Myrmidon Books Ltd (7 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905802757
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905802753
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 511,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Harmattan is a captivating and beautifully written debut novel. Gavin Weston's unique and distinctive style hails a new era in Northern Irish literature. --Kellie Chambers, Ulster Tatler

Harmattan is just the novel that all readers need right now. --Glenn Patterson

About the Author

Gavin Weston is an artist and designer from Ireland and a former aid worker in West Africa. Harmattan is based both on his first-hand experiences of Niger and its people and his continued involvement as an aid sponsor.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By CM on 24 May 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the huge story of a young girl.

Throughout the book my stomach was knotted, always hoping for respite, hoping that the seemingly inevitable would not happen. The story somehow manages to weave between dramatic tensions with gentle rhythms of a different world. The success of this novel lies in its truths. It is absorbing, heartbreaking, honest and vivid.

Early in the book I had thought that it might be a suitable book for teens but as I progressed I became aware that it might be a little too graphic. This is a book for anyone who has a heart. I'd particularly recommend it to anyone with an interest in social issues but above all it is a human story. I know that any of my friends would be as engaged as I was. I can't say they'd 'enjoy' it. This is not entertainment. It is empathy.

Haoua is a character you need to know. Harmattan is a book you need to read.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Haz on 19 April 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book, a truly touching story and it's fair share of heart wrenching moments. I shed a few tears over this book! Very helpful glossary at the beginning too to help with the Djerma that's been put in some places. Really well written and very engaging story, definitely come to feel for the characters, especially knowing it's based on a true story. Definitely recommending it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By TripFiction on 14 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
Haoua, a young girl of 12 years suffers a huge amount of loss, yet is also very brave and resilient and can still maintain a sense of humour at times. It is almost as though she is borne back and forth by the wind, from her home in a small village, Wadata, to the capital Niamey. From the parched earth, the camion trails across the desert, the heat, the colours and the smells of West Africa - you can almost shake the sand and brittle earth out of this book as you turn the pages. The dry, arid heat lifts from the writing and water is available to us, the reader, but often not to the people who populate this book. It is sometimes shocking in its rawness, beautiful in its descriptions and remains in the consciousness long after the novel is back on the bookshelf.

Do you need any more persuading to buy this book? Then hear what the publishers have to say: "We haven't released anything as hauntingly beautiful since Tan Twan Eng's "The Gift of Rain".
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ms. N. M. Reid on 14 Sept. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Haunting yet beautifully written. The story draws the reader into the life of the key character, into the country it is set, and highlights both the beautiful aspects and the challenges facing young girls the world over. I read this in a day and I laughed, I cried, I remembered why I work on the issue of child marriage, and I was fully engrossed. Well worth a read for anyone who appreciates great writing and great storytelling with an attitude!
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Nuray Onoglu on 16 Mar. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I have read it and it haunted me. It is a beautifully written heartbreaking story of a childbride. Knowing the fact that it was based on a true story makes it much more powerful. The poverty, the conditions described in the book are beyond our wildest imaginations. It is a great read and more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Junkie on 5 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of the most disturbing books I've read in a long time, and mainly because it is fiction based on fact. Don't read it and think you'll come away with a rosy glow. You most definitely won't. But read it to see how lucky you are to be living in a society where there is running water, a decent transport system, plentiful supplies of varied foodstuffs, and the NHS. The central character is the narrator, a child living with her family in the poorest of conditions, but to be fair she isn't aware of how poor they are as all the other villagers live the same way. It doesn't seem possible to the reader that her life could get any worse, but before long she is living a much more degrading existence with no prospect of improvement.

I have no hesitation at all in recommending this book. It will grip you. But, as I say, forget any rosy glow.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Broomes on 16 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This isn't the sort of book I usually read, but it sounded interesting and from the first page, I was drawn in to the beautiful landscapes and culture of rural Niger. I found it fascinating but as the story developed, unfolding a string of tragedies I became more drawn in to the sad plight of millions of African children. Throughout the book I had such hopes for the character at the centre of the book, 11 year old Haoua Boureima, making the ending all the more shocking. A beautiful, thought provoking book that makes me thankful of many aspects of my own culture. My only criticism is the large number if typographical errors in the kindle format.
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Format: Paperback
Set in Niger, this is the heartbreaking and heartwarming story of a young girl called Haoua who dreams of becoming a teacher and who is excited by what she learns at school.

The book trail reading of this book took me to the heart of Niger and its harsh landscape:

‘It was early September. The sun continued to beat down relentlessly and the air was humid and alive with mosquitoes at dusk and dawn. The rains had been good and the hard, baked ground around Wadata was covered in a thin fuzz of greenery.’

‘……a fierce and unexpected harmattan blew in from the north, whipping up the desert and coating everything in a thick blanket of red dust.’ – page 22

But the real story of ‘Harmattan’ is not its landscape but the experiences of the people who live in Niger – especially the young women such as Haoua who have to survive off the land at the same time as battling against the men in their lives. And sometime even the women – for as the book opens we are subjected to a beating in both the literary and physical sense as we feel Haoua’s pain.

Haoua is telling us of a beating she has just been subjected to. She tells us she no longer believes her father. She tells us that she has been told that she must no longer think of her school or education as she is a woman now. Then the prologue ends with the one of the saddest phrases in the book.

The author, Gavin Weston has clearly done his research. The geography, the culture, even the sights and the smells hit you from every page. Whilst there is clearly a message to this book – to raise awareness of the shocking situation faced by young girls such as Haoua, the book does not preach or describe.
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