ISBN 9780980077414
Pages 240
Dimensions 216 x 140 mm
Published 2008
Publisher Cotton Tree Press, Liberia
Format Paperback

Redemption Road

by Elma Shaw

Set in Monrovia during the administration of Liberia's former president, Charles Taylor, this riveting debut is a story of recovery, atonement, and the continuing quest for peace and justice in a nation plagued by conflict and inequalities since its founding by freed American slaves. Life in post-war Liberia is not easy, and it is especially challenging for Bendu Lewis, a young woman who counsels traumatized survivors of Liberia's civil war while struggling with memories of her own war-time experiences. When the warlord who once held her in captivity suddenly shows up in town, she decides that for her own healing, and for the voiceless victims of the war, she must bring him to justice for his past atrocities. In her pursuit of Commander Cobra, Bendu finds much more than she bargained for, including the courage to finally confront and make amends for her own painful war-time secret. Elma Shaw’s award-winning novel, with a foreword by Nobel Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has been a catalyst for peacebuilding in Liberia.

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“Liberia could very well enter the canon of post-conflict literature with Elma Shaw’s Redemption Road. Peppered with flashbacks, chock full of suspense, and sprinkled with a smidgen of romance, Redemption Road contextualizes the Liberian Civil War with gut-wrenching appeal...It brings to bear Liberia’s tortured history, and civil conflict no doubt, but it also transcends the country’s context to ask universal questions about truth, reconciliation, forgiveness, and the power of unconditional love.”

LIBERIA Travel & Life Magazine

“Elma Shaw swims through the murky depths of Liberia’s recent past without holding her breath. She breathes and allows us to breathe through the pain. Her Redemption Road is a story that needs to be told and Shaw handles the emotions, the tragedy, the wounds, and the burden, with delicacy and power.”

Sea Breeze Journal of Contemporary Liberian Writings

“Shaw has taken an enormously difficult theme and treated it convincingly after laying the horrific groundwork of what happens during time of awful warfare —especially to women. Atonement and renewal as Shaw develops them are believable and inspiring and exactly what so many potential readers in Africa need during these troubled times. I see Redemption Road finding many enthusiastic readers not only in Liberia, but also in Sierra Leone, South Africa, Rwanda, Congo—a list that sadly can be expanded too far.”

Charles R. Larson, Department of Literature, American University

“A brilliant novel...a promising and incisive voice. Elma Shaw knows how to tell a story. Reading Redemption Road was a most refreshing and enlightening experience, and the best Liberian novel I have ever read. It will go a long way in placing Liberia on the map of world literature.”

Wilton Sankawulo, Professor of English and Literature, University of Liberia

"Redemption Road is a bold first step on the path to creating a new oeuvre for West Africa’s post-conflict states."

The Africa Report

"Redemption Road is one of Liberia’s first post-conflict novels. It contributes to a growing body of literature produced by African writers examining the impact of war. This novel is recommended for high school, college, and university general collections."

The African Book Publishing Record
About the Author

Elma Shaw

Author Elma Shaw holds degrees in Communication Media and Film and Video from American University. She currently lives in Monrovia, Liberia with her husband and their two children. Redemption Road is her first novel. Visit Liberia Stories to read her blog.

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