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The Other Hand

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The Other Hand, also known as Little Bee, is a 2008 novel by British author Chris Cleave. It is a dual narrative story about a Nigerian asylum-seeker and a British magazine editor, who meet during the oil conflict in the Niger Delta, and are re-united in England several years later. Cleave, inspired as a university student by his temporary employment in an asylum detention centre, wrote the book in an attempt to humanise the plight of asylum-seekers in Britain. The novel examines the treatment of refugees by the asylum system, as well as issues of British colonialism, globalization, political violence and personal accountability. The novel was published by Sceptre, an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton. Sales were initially slow, but increased as a result of "word-of-mouth" publicity, with the book eventually ranking 13th on the 2009 Sunday Times bestseller list. It has also been ranked #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. The novel has received mixed reviews from critics. It has been praised for its focus on underlying human decency; however, some reviewers felt its events were contrived. The two protagonists have been juxtaposed, with less sympathy evoked by Surrey-born Sarah than Nigerian-refugee Little Bee. The novel was nominated for the 2008 Costa Book Awards and a 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize. A film adaptation is now in pre-production, and will be produced by and star Julia Roberts. Amazon Studios will be distributing the film.
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original title: The Other Hand
language: English
date of publication: 2008
genre: literary fiction, novel

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