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North of Dawn
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Archive: Other Books > North of Dawn by Nuruddin Farah - 4 stars

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Booknblues | 5499 comments What happens to the citizens of a country when the country collapses and is considered a failed state? There are only so many answers, but they all center around survival and belief. Nuruddin Farah, an established Somali writer who resides in South Africa answers this in his latest book North of Dawn.

Mugdi and Gacalo, Norwegian citizens who are originally from Somalia, find they must deal with their son's death by suicide bomb in Somalia. Mugdi disowned his son when he found him to be aligned with terrorists, but Gacalo was unable to do that and instead kept in touch with her son who shortly before his death requested that if something happened to him that she bring his wife and step-children to Norway.

She does that despite Mugdi opposition and they find themselves sponsoring the three refugees:

On the drive to the airport, Mugdi brims over with sadness and not for the first time thinks of himself as a man born to grief, a Somali concerned about the death of a son or the arrival of a widow and her children when he should be sorrowing over the terminal cancer that has infected his nation. He detests Somalia’s dysfunction, unrelenting since 1991, the year the country collapsed after its clan politics had gone awry, and Mogadiscio became a killing field.

With the addition of the widow Waliya, her daughter Saafi and son Naciim we are given the characters who must adapt to their new home and new expectations and mores. Each follows a different path and their relationship with their new country and family is where the story lies.

At times in North of Dawn the reader is given so much detail, that it bogs down a bit and then unexpectedly without foreshadowing the reader is thrown a huge curveball. The writing often feels so placid, that the reader is not given the necessary emotional release.

I particularly enjoyed the characters of Mugdi and Saafi and I suspect that the author may have been more comfortable with them.

I am happy to recommend this book.

message 2: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7240 comments Totally giving up on trying to the pare down the TBR-useless when I just keep adding to it!

Lovely review!

message 3: by Jgrace (new) - added it

Jgrace | 2753 comments My 2019 list is already filling up. Thanks!

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