Posted by: koolwine | December 14, 2010

Somalia: Secrets

The surprise reappearance of a man’s first lover triggers the revelation of family secrets.

Country Focus: Somalia (Soomaaliya in Somali)

Nuruddin Farah
Originally published by Arcade, 1998.
My edition: Penguin, 1999.  298 pgs.
Acclaim: Winner of the 1998 Neustadt International Prize for Literature

To make a long story short: Kalaman comes home one day to find that Sholoongo, his childhood girlfriend, has unexpectedly arrived and is demanding that he father her child.  Kalaman asks his grandfather Nonno for advice and for answers to some long unanswered questions – most importantly, why does his mother hate Sholoongo?  And why was he called Kalaman, a name which does not tie him to either his father’s or mother’s clan?  As his country descends into civil war, Kalaman uncovers secrets that threaten to tear apart his family.

Quote: “The repository of a secret needs a bit of warning, he or she requires time to prepare to give up a secret.  Like virginity, once you’ve parted with it, the loss of a secret is total.”


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