"It is the end, or maybe the beginning, of another story.
Every story begins and ends with a woman, a mother,
a grandmother, a girl, a child.
Every story is a birth . . .
She was the first to arrive where it seems the wind no longer exhaled. Several miles from town, the trees had entangled one another. Their branches grew toward the ground, burying the leaves in the soil to blind their eyes so the sun would not promise them tomorrow with its rays. It was only the path that was reluctant to cloak its surface completely with grasses, as though it anticipated it would soon end its starvation for the warmth of bare feet that gave it life."
So begins Ishmael Beah's first novel, Radiance of Tomorrow. In an author's note, Beah explains that he grew up in Sierra Leone and, in writing the novel, he seeks to capture their oral traditions and language. He tries to capture the expressive nature of Mende, his "mother tongue". He gives an example of the difference between English and Mende: "For example, in Mende, you wouldn't say 'night came suddenly': you would say 'the sky rolled over and changed its sides.'" (viii) You can really see this expressiveness in the opening paragraph. It is a little awkward for a native English speaker, but having read the first couple chapters already, I can say that it does get easier to read.