Ishmael Beah's New Battles

The former boy soldier has a new book and is getting good at living between two worlds

Ryan Pfluger for TIME

There's no couch in Ishmael Beah's New York City loft. The elevator opens to a long narrow room, empty save for a few X-shaped wooden African chief's chairs, a bunch of pillows on the floor and a massive dining table. There's one cluttered corner of cushions, books and a tall stand where Beah writes. But the kitchen is modern--his pregnant Congolese wife Priscillia and Iranian mother-in-law are cooking in there, and in the corner is a big fancy rock-star drum set.

Beah is getting good at living between two worlds. He has the odd distinction of being one of his continent's...