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A haunting coming-of-age novel from one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Novelists of the Year (2013), author of the acclaimed Beneath the Darkening Sky

In the South Sudanese village of Pacong, Juba is young and old at the same time. Forced to grow up quickly in the civil war, he is nonetheless fun-loving as well as smart. But his little world cannot deflect the conflict raging around it and soon he must flee the life he loves.

Ahead lies a long trek to a refugee camp, a journey arduous and fraught. When at last it ends, Juba comes to wonder if there’s any such thing as safe haven in his country. Yet life in the camp is not all bad. There can be intense joy amid the deprivation, there are angels as well as demons.

Poised part way between heaven and hell, When Elephants Fight draws a horrifying picture of what humanity can do to itself, but Juba’s is a story of transcendence and resilience, even exultation.

Majok Tulba’s debut novel, Beneath the Darkening Sky, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and likened to the work of Nam Le, Markus Zusak and Primo Levi. No less brilliant, When Elephants Fight is an important testimony of the harrowing lives of refugees.

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9781926428437

    July 2, 2018

    Hamish Hamilton

    256 pages

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781760144425

    July 2, 2018

    Penguin eBooks

    256 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

Extract

1

My older brother, Deng, doesn’t live with us anymore. I don’t know where he went. He’s been gone a long time now but my heart still aches when I come home and he’s not there. Sometimes I make out he’s hiding behind the bushes, waiting for me to find him like in the old days. But he isn’t, and I know he’s not hiding anywhere nearby, no matter how hard I pretend. I know he’s far from our village of Pacong. Some nights I dream I’m walking with him across a valley of tall green grass beyond the hills.

I’ve asked Grandpa if he knows where Deng is but he doesn’t like talking about it. As my father is dead and Grandpa is getting old, it’s up to me to bring our family back together.

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Book Clubs
When Elephants Fight Book Club Notes

A haunting coming-of-age novel that’s sure to spark conversation at your next book club meeting.

Q&A
Majok Tulba Q&A

The Sudanese–Australian author reflects on the inspiration behind When Elephants Fight.

Also by Majok Tulba