Six-year-old Ibrahimah loves devouring pastries from his mother’s kitchen, harvesting green beans with his father, and racing down to the beach in search of sea glass with his sisters. But when he is approached in his rural village one day by Marabout Ahmed, a seemingly kind stranger and highly regarded teacher, the tides of his life turn forever. Unbeknownst to Ibrahimah’s parents, when Ibrahimah is sent to join his cousin Etienne to study the Koran for a year—the local custom for many families—Ibrahimah is sent out to beg in the streets in order to line his teacher’s pockets.
To make it back home alive, Etienne and Ibrahimah must help one another survive both the dangers posed by Marabout and the myriad threats of the city: black market organ traders, rival packs of boys from other daaras, and mounting student protest on the streets.
Drawn from real incidents, this extraordinary debut novel locates the universal through the story of two boys caught in the terrible sweep of history. Transporting us between rural and urban Senegal, No Heaven for Good Boys shows the strength that can emerge when one has no other choice but to survive.