An international sensation, this startling and heartbreaking debut recounts the adventures of eleven-year-old Djata in one life-changing year. To be published in twenty countries around the world this spring. Djata doesn’t know what to make of the two men who lead his father away one day, or understand why his mother bursts into tears when he brings her tulips on her anniversary. He does know that he must learn to fill his father’s shoes, even though among his friends he is still a boy: fighting neighborhood gang wars, “volunteering” to dig ditches, playing soccer on radioactive grass, having inappropriate crushes, sneaking into secret screening rooms, and shooting at stray cats with his gun-happy (and politically influential) grandfather. But this depiction of life in a totalitarian state—the only world Djata knows—is tempered by the sheer, hilarious absurdity of the situations he finds himself in, by his enduring faith in his father’s return, and by the moments of unexpected beauty and hope and the small acts of kindness that mark out any life. As in the works of Mark Haddon, David Mitchell, and Marjane Satrapi, Djata’s child’s-eye view lends a power and immediacy to his story, making us laugh and ache in recognition and reminding us all of our shared humanity.