THE NIGHT LANGUAGE out Nov. 2 is "a love letter to the artist, the outcast, the othered."
David Rocklin's THE NIGHT LANGUAGE tells the story of a young man, Prince Alamayou of Abyssinia (present day Ethiopia), who is taken from his home and the Abyssinian war to the court of Queen Victoria―a world he knows nothing about.
With him is Philip Layard, a young apprentice to one of the doctors on the battlefield in Abyssinia, who becomes Alamayou's guardian, only friend, and eventually, the love of his life. When Parliament accuses Alamayou of murder, the young prince is sentenced to return to Abyssinia, where he will be executed.
His only hope comes from the very thing that cannot be uttered: the unexpected and forbidden love between Alamayou and Philip.
Inspired by true events, The Night Language is a unique novel of love, loss, and the consequences of repressive societies.
Advanced praise for THE NIGHT LANGUAGE
"The Night Language is a rare achievement: lush language and classic storytelling with a contemporary feel that renders its history palpable. It is also a love letter to the artist, the outcast, the othered. Keep it by your bedside, read it in the early hours―it will not fail to inspire you."
―Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased
"A heart-scorching lyrical novel about forbidden love, unbearable loss, the never-ending path of history and the price of repression. If you ever felt like “the other” (and who has not?), this brilliant book will heal, inspire and, yes, haunt you to see the world differently."
―Caroline Leavitt, New York Times Bestselling author of Pictures of You and Cruel Beautiful World
"The love story between Prince Alamayou and his steward, Philip, is one for the ages. A work of complex social and political relationships, The Night Language deftly navigates through sexuality, race, class, love, and war as it brings the reader closer and closer to its devastating conclusion. A stunning novel from a wonderful talent."
―Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything
"Not since Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient have I read a novel in which a character―The story and skinsong of Alamayou―has haunted language, history, and heart so intensely. David Rocklin's novel The Night Language is a book of longing. Longing for history to unravel and retell itself around those whose buried voices and bodies truly mattered, longing for time to reverse and make decolonization possible, power giving way to intimacy, longing for art to bring a body back home, longing for language to unmoor itself and bring us back to life. If you read one novel this year, let it be The Night Language. It is still possible for a reader’s heart to be broken back open."
―Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan, The Small Backs of Children, and The Chronology of Water
The Night Language is a postcard sent from a lost time and place but postmarked today. As he surveys the crisscross borders of gender and race in a troubled past, David Rocklin draws a line around the heart of our troubled present: the price of war, the privilege of wealth, the poison of xenophobia. Also: the wordless power of love. The shadows of two black men, an African prince and a British apprentice, dance together out of a forgotten history right into the here and now.
―Martin Pousson, author of Black Sheep Boy
"Rocklin does a beautiful job capturing the raw emotions that bring Alamayou and the queen closer together, all the while exploring the forbidden intimacy between him and Philip that permeates the novel...A moving and inspiring novel that shows what happens when those in power listen to foreign visitors."
"The Night Language is lovely and complex. It opens slowly, folding in historical details with ease."