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Musa Okwonga
In The End, It Was All About Love
Rough Trade Books
Release Date
February 12, 2021

The narrator arrives in Berlin, a place famed for its hedonism, to find peace and maybe love; only to discover that the problems which have long haunted him have arrived there too, and are more present than ever. As he approaches his fortieth birthday, nearing the age where his father was killed in a brutal revolution, he drifts through this endlessly addictive and sometimes mystical city, through its slow days and bottomless nights, wondering whether he will ever escape the damage left by his father’s death. With the world as a whole more uncertain, as both the far-right and global temperatures rise at frightening speed, he finds himself fighting a fierce inner battle against his turbulent past, for a future free of his fear of failure, of persecution, and of intimacy. In The End, It Was All About Love is a journey of loss and self-acceptance that takes its nameless narrator all the way through bustling Berlin to his roots, a quiet village on the Uganda-Sudan border. It is a bracingly honest story of love, sexuality and spirituality, of racism, dating, and alienation; of fleeing the greatest possible pain, and of the hopeful road home.

‘This book sings. It wails and howls and it whispers. It curls you up and opens you out. It holds you close and asks you why? It left me full of energy and flames and more inspired than I have felt for a very long time.’ —Steven Camden aka Polarbear

‘This is the journey that so many of us take - by turns exultant and melancholic, ultimately triumphant - through city life to find ourselves.’ —Taiye Selasi

‘Musa is precise and all-encompassing in the same line. His poetry is intimate and erudite, passionate and beautiful.’ —Kate Tempest

‘Musa Okwonga’s stunningly beautiful In The End, It Was All About Love has left me profoundly moved. Poetic and powerful, the author effortlessly weaves a tale of love, loss, grief and self acceptance that is so compelling, you will be left wishing for more of his gorgeous words. A masterful work of craft and narrative, here is a book that has forever changed me and I cannot wait to recommend it to everyone I know.’ —Nikita Gill

‘Okwonga's magical ode to Berlin is quite unlike any book I've read before, I envy everyone who gets to read it for the first time. This is one to read slowly. Savour every page before turning. Every line, every word moves and inspires.’ —Sharon Dodua Otoo

‘Musa is the best kind of writer: one who communicates complex ideas, creates immersive universes, and breaks your heart with simple, beautiful sentences. A triumph of the soul.’ — Nikesh Shukla

‘Emotional, hopeful, heart-wrenching, real - Musa brings you into his world in such a vivid and authentic way. It is an absolute must read.’ —Ian Wright

Musa Okwonga

Musa Okwonga is a writer, broadcaster and musician. The co-host of the Stadio football podcast, he has published one collection of poetry and three books about football, the first of which, A Cultured Left Foot, was nominated for the 2008 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. His work has appeared in various outlets, including Africa Is A Country, Byline Times, Foreign Policy, Guardian, The New York Times, The Economist and The Ringer. He lives in Berlin.

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