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By: Otto Europaeus

Clipped Wings

Pages: 196 Ratings: 4.5
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Ever since Congo was handed to Leopold II, the humanitarian king of Belgium in the late 19th century, a trickle of reports on human rights abuse have been coming down from the dense jungles. After recent media attention back home, the British government has asked Roger Casement, their representative in the African free state, to look into these claims. He travels deep into Congo’s interior, to the shores of Lake Mantumba, where a local man named Nsala helps him expose the truth while a Belgian official Gaspard Bunschoten tries his best to maintain an illusion that is doomed to fall apart.

A young master of contemporary political history, from Finland, with a life-long passion in literature, Europaeus wants to fuse his interests and skills to shine light on some of the recent centuries’ lesser-known but equally important events through his writing. Besides his studies in Finland and work in literature, Europaeus has studied in The Netherlands, interned at the Embassy of Finland in Türkiye, and worked for Accenture, in Ireland.

Customer Reviews
4.5
4 reviews
4 reviews
  • Patrik Lundström

    A fresh approach to the one of the most "unkonwn" chapters of colonization period - Instead of listing and wondering all the cruelties like felt by the people of today the author takes the reader back in time and thoughts and values of the people that lived through the days of Leopold era in Congo and the Free State period of 1885 to 1908 - Looking forward to be able to read more stories like this from this author.

  • Jyrki Karasvirta

    What seemingly starts as Sir Roger Casement’s (a diplomat, Irish nationalist, and a real historical character) human rights observation trip to the Congo Free State, personal possession of the Belgian King Leopold in 1904, turns into an interwoven net of multiple human relationship dramas where hopes and illusions are removed. The truth is revealed by Casement acting as the catalyst. Casement is the only one who sails away untouched by the book’s events on the same steamer he arrived. Clipped Wings is a well-written book with a smoothly flowing text and storyline. The book offers a nice balance of rich and vivid dialogue and scene painting. The author also has succeeded in keeping the book composition optimal: nothing is missing, and nothing is too much. It's a book that I can well recommend. I hope the author will continue writing more.

  • Conor

    A well-written story that doesn't overstay its welcome. I recently read John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, and it got me interested in novels with similar settings and themes. That's how I found Clipped Wings. Besides the aforementioned novel that I think served as a clear inspiration for Europaeus, the story is carried heavily by dialogue similar to Francis Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. The built-up towards the ending felt a bit rushed in the last chapters, but the final pages more than made up for it. All in all, I could see the story work well as a theater play or a short movie.

  • Norma

    "Clipped Wings" is a thought-provoking debut novel that illuminates the often-overlooked history of the Congo Free State at the turn of the 20th century. Through the lens of Irish diplomat Roger Casement and a cast of diverse characters, the novel delves into the brutal realities of colonialism under King Leopold II of Belgium. Despite its concise manner, the dialogue-based writing manages to bring out interesting nuances, capturing the complexities of human emotions and relationships amidst oppression. It serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of colonialism and the importance of confronting uncomfortable truths, both in historical contexts and in present-day society. The author brings to life the individuals caught in the tumult of exploitation and resistance. "Clipped Wings" offers readers a captivating journey to a point in history, inviting reflection on the complexities of human experience and the pursuit of justice across cultures and generations. In exploring the varied responses to oppression, the novel resonates with contemporary conversations about social justice and compels the reader to consider their own role in shaping a more equitable world. In today's world, humans shouldn’t be able to claim ignorance of injustice to justify inaction – yet somehow, we still manage to.

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