The Other Hand

“A powerful piece of art… shocking, exciting and deeply affecting.” – Independent

“Searingly eloquent.” – Daily Mail

“Ambitious and fearless.” – Guardian

(THE OTHER HAND is published in the USA and Canada as LITTLE BEE).

other_hand_jacketLearn more about the real world of refugees, asylum seekers and violence caused by the oil industry.

Read the first chapter of LITTLE BEE

Read reviews of LITTLE BEE

Read a Q&A about why I wrote LITTLE BEE

Go behind the scenes with this reading group guide

324 thoughts on “The Other Hand”

  1. I have just finished to read this book. The story is amazing. I read it all in a few days!
    I lived in Mozambique for over a year and saw with my own eyes and felt in my own heart how they struggle for life there and your book took me back there. I loved to live in Maputo, the capital of the country, but it was not easy to see all I had seen.
    I will look for another books of yours.
    Thanks for your writing. By the way: I am Brazilian

  2. Dear Chris,

    I would not have read your book had I known what it was about because I used to work with asylum seekers. And I feel helpless when I think of them. But my friend just put her copy in my bag as I was leaving her house and said “you should read this”. It took me by surprise. What a literary achievement to give people hope, whilst bringing the unspoken, harsh reality in their bubbles of safety.

    I have been studying how the colonialist past and the loss of empire was never dealt with in the UK. And how this manifests itself in everyday racism, and all this hostility and fear of migrants, and the “other”. It is really hard to find accessible (for everyone) art that represents this with honesty, without hiding from the truth and the past. So the past carries on, speaking for us, never being dealt with. Day in and day. And we carry on treating fellow human beings like subhuman. Your book does not shy away from this – and all along it tricks you into thinking you’re reading a best selling page turner. If we are ever to understand and overcome the past, we need more of this kind of art.

    I just wanted to say that I didn’t know anything about you until today, when I read all the reviews. As I put the book down, I thought “if this is the only thing he has ever written, he has done enough for the world. He has made a difference already!”. You and others like you, are the hope.

    Thank you for using your talent in this way. Thank you!

    1. Dear Chris

      I am currently writing my final year dissertation at Cambridge University on The Literary Portrayal of African Refugees- your novel is forming a large party of my examination of the linguistic alienation that I believe asylum seekers face on reaching their new country of residence. I was very interested in how you portrayed Little Bee’s reaction to learning ‘the Queen’s English’, and how much she as a character felt she had lost by abandoning ‘the best tricks of her mother tongue’. I know that you did a great deal of research before writing the book, and I was wondering how you gained such an insightful view of the linguistic problems that refugees face, and how you re-created the form of English that Little Bee spoke whilst in Nigeria?

      Thank you so much for the novel.


    2. Dear Chris,
      I have just reread ‘The Other Hand’ and am pleased that the book was marketed in Australia as that rather than ‘Little Bee’.
      By naming your offering as ‘Little Bee’ the publisher/marketer really denied the duality of the tale, and some how diminished the other protagonists roles, not only in the story but also in demonstrating the theme.
      Yours in hope, Anne

  3. Dear Chris Cleave,

    My name is Claudia and I am from Brazil.

    My name is Claudia and I am from Brazil.
    Firstly, I would like to give congratulations on your beautiful book. I started reading there 02 days and I’m already almost done.
    Incredible, immersed in history in an absurd way !!!! I do not want to work or to be able to finish reading ….
    I will never forget the definition of scar that I read in your book. Perfect!
    I’m doing research on the movie, but I did not find anything. He has not been released yet?

    Thank you.

    Best regards,

  4. What a sledgehammer of a book for my holiday read. Combines social justice, love, globalisation, family, terror, selfishness and selflessness. I read it with the constant expectation of the roof falling on my head. Unbelievable that the story is so believable in the early years of the 21st century, a truly sad reflection of parts of today’s world. One for realists, not one for those who want a nice escapist happy holiday read as they look up at the pool between chapters and the next cocktail. I loved it.

  5. Hi Chris — I have read Little Bee now three times… Once for myself when it first came out, and twice for different book clubs I’m in. My (newish) book club is meeting tonight to discuss Little Bee and I thought I’d just take a stab at contacting you to see if you could recommend any particular ways in which to discuss your marvelous book…. ways that will really encourage this group of psychologists, university professors and lawyers to engage in a meaningful conversation about the book and its issues. I read in your FAQ that you describe Little Bee as “a novel about where our individuality lies – which layers of identity are us, and which are merely camouflage.” I love that as a topic, but I wonder