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Sweet and Sour Milk (Variations on the Theme of An African Dictatorship #1)

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  117 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Winner of the 1980 English-Speaking Union Literary Award

The first novel in Farah's universally acclaimed Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship trilogy, Sweet and Sour Milk chronicles one man's search for the reasons behind his twin brother's violent death during the 1970s. The atmosphere of political tyranny and repression reduces our hero's quest to a passive
Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 22nd 2006 by Graywolf Press (first published January 1st 1980)
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Jul 12, 2007 Namrirru rated it it was amazing
Shelves: africa
Intense and captivating.

I am conflicted. The characters are so endearing and believable that the thought of them being "made up" is heartbreaking. Nevertheless, it is an excellent book.

Social roles: mothers, sisters, brothers, fathers, uneducated, educated, religious, secular, conservative, liberal, rich, poor, tribal, national. They're all subtley woven together. This book is a work of art.
David Smith
Jul 25, 2011 David Smith rated it it was amazing
This is your secret entrance into daily life in Somalia. Tea-drinking required.
Jul 11, 2011 Aquavit rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, book-club
"Africa, for nearly a century, was governed with the iron hand of European colonial economic interests: these ran Africa as though it were a torture-chamber. Africa has known the iron rod, the whiplash, thumb-screwing and removing of testicles: Africa has been humiliated one way or another. I am not saying anything new if I add that whether British, French, Belgian, Spanish, Portugese or Italian, the colonial mafiadoms which, on behalf of the civilised world, administered the colonies barbarousl
Jul 05, 2014 Nambou rated it really liked it
Brilliantly written with a fascinating plot. Sweet and Sour Milk is the first novel in Farah's Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship trilogy. It chronicles the quest on the reasons behind the mysterious death of the main character's twin brother. However, this book shall not be read with the end goal in mind: who killed the brother? For it is not a crime novel, rather it is a poignant commentary of Somalia's social, religious and political realities in the 70s.

"Somalia is a prison.
Sorin Hadârcă
Apr 14, 2015 Sorin Hadârcă rated it it was amazing
Excellent literature! I agree when Farah is compared to Garcia Marquez (I think the Autumn of the Patriarch is meant here) and Solzhenitsyn. However, when Solzhenitsyn provides account for and witnesses the events, Farah adds structure, draws laws of the phenomena and searches for solutions. I think it's a great piece of dissident literature and I am ready for the next books in the trilogy and beyond it.
Feb 18, 2008 yb rated it liked it
A little too repetitious and self-conscious to be completely engaging, but still a fascinating read. It is dated, dealing as it does with Soviet influence across Africa, and yet sadly still quite timely in recounting the overwhelming damage done by a self-aggrandizing African dictator to ordinary people who love their country. More importantly, its exploration of the bonds between brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, lovers and tribesmen is beautiful, heartbreaking, and timeless. Not an eas ...more
May 25, 2012 Alice rated it liked it
An interesting book, but the writing style wasn't my cup of tea. I don't like poetry, and it seemed overly poetic to me. I should have read the back - where the author is compared to Solzhenitsyn and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I'm not crazy about their books either.
Rodney Likaku
Oct 08, 2014 Rodney Likaku rated it it was amazing
There is a major Folie a Deux in this text. A psychological thriller. Farah is showing off again.
Jan 22, 2009 Cy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Zeinab
Shelves: rainbow-fiction
Another great experience with the poetic, one-of-a-kind writing of Nuruddin Farah.
Feb 19, 2008 Ghennet rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sweet and souer milk covers the dictatorship and resistance in Somalia.
Jan 09, 2013 Impetuousxsquirrel rated it it was amazing
when the whole world embraces a shared lie, you start to doubt yourself
Ben Vigeant
Sep 22, 2008 Ben Vigeant rated it it was amazing
Terrifying. Absolutely terrifying.
May 27, 2010 Katerina rated it did not like it
fantastic political novel
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Nuruddin Farah (Somali: Nuuradiin Faarax, Arabic: نور الدين فرح) is a prominent Somali novelist. He was awarded the 1998 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. ...more
More about Nuruddin Farah...

Other Books in the Series

Variations on the Theme of An African Dictatorship (2 books)
  • Sardines (Variations on the Theme of An African Dictatorship, #2)

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