We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

The Other Hand

Costa Prize: Novel, 2008

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780340963425

Price: £9.99

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and Costa Novel of the Year, this international bestseller has become a reading group classic.

We don’t want to tell you too much about this book. It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it.

Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this:

It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific.

The story starts there, but the book doesn’t.

And it’s what happens afterwards that is most important.

Once you have read it, you’ll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don’t tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.


Warm, witty and beautifully written.
<i>Sunday Tribune</i>
In a novel that tackles serious and uncomfortable subject matter, Cleave's writing makes one laugh and despair in equal measure. (4 stars)
<i>Time Out</i>
A powerful piece of art... shocking, exciting and deeply affecting...[a] superb novel... Besides sharp, witty dialogue, an emotionally charged plot and the vivid characters' ethical struggles, THE OTHER HAND delivers a timely challenge to reinvigorate our notions of civilized decency.
Exquisitely balanced between terrible sadness and brilliant humour.
Big themes, high emotion and cliffhangers aplenty... an enormously affecting investigation of love, guilt and global responsibility, told with a bittersweet urgency.
Justine Jordan, <i>Guardian</i>
Searingly eloquent.
<i>Daily Mail</i>
An ambitious and fearless gallop from the jungles of Africa via a shocking encounter on a Nigerian beach to the media offices of London and domesticity in leafy suburbia...Cleave immerses the reader in the worlds of his characters with an unshakable confidence.
Lawrence Norfolk, <i>Guardian</i>
totally believable... the author has a knack of explaining human suffering... I look forward to his next offering.
<i>Daily Express</i>
impresses as a feat of literary engineering... the plot exerts a fearsome grip.
<i>Daily Telegraph</i>
An exhilarating, disturbing read.
James Urquhart, <i>Independent</i> (Books of the Year)
You stay in thrall to the bittersweet end.
<i>Scotland on Sunday </i>
It would be hard not to romp through it.
<i>Financial Times</i>
By turns funny, sad and shocking
<i>Sainsburys Magazine</i>
The next Kite Runner.
<i>Library Journal</i>
I felt the same excitement discovering this as I did Marina Lewycka's A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian and Paul Torday's Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. There is an urgency here, an inability to put it down and a deep sense of loss once finished. It is a very special book indeed. Profound, deeply moving and yet light in touch, it explores the nature of loss, hope, love and identity with atrocity its backdrop. Read it and think deeply.
Sarah Broadhurst, <i>Bookseller</i>
'Immensely readable and moving . . . an affecting story of human triumph'
<i>New York Times</i>
Artfully plotted... [a] strong yarn.
<i>Sunday Telegraph</i>
A better book than Chris Cleave's THE OTHER HAND may be published this year, but I wouldn't bet on it. This exquisitely written story of a Nigerian refugee and a British glossy magazine editor is the most powerful novel I've read in a long time. . . it's also a very funny book about brave, funny people who the reader quickly grows to love. . . But the heart of the book is Little Bee; naïve yet insightful and sophisticated, damaged yet capable of great courage and humour, she is an unforgettable character. I finished THE OTHER HAND in tears, and I still can't get it out of my head. Just read it.
<i>The Gloss</i>
Will blow you away... the best kind of political novel: You're almost entirely unaware of its politics because the book doesn't deal in abstractions but in human beings.
<i>Washington Post</i>
So far it's the best book of 2009, no question.
<i>Metro</i> (US)