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This first novel in Nuruddin Farah's Blood in the Sun trilogy tells the story of Askar, a man coming of age in the turmoil of modern Africa. With his father a victim of the bloody Ethiopian civil war and his mother dying the day of his birth, Askar is taken in and raised by a woman named Misra amid the scandal, gossip, and ritual of a small African village. As an adolescent, Askar goes to live in Somalia's capital, where he strives to find himself just as Somalia struggles for national identity.
then anyway—nor the world of the oceans, or picture-book horses and birds. But I was grateful to Misra—grateful that she chose to introduce me to a world in which I have felt happiest since then. V During my brief sojourn in the land of pain, two things occurred: one, I lost myself in it (I wondered, was this why Misra suggested I was given a map of the globe and of the oceans?); two, I took hold of a different “self”, one that had no room and no space for Misra and no longer cared for her. I
missed her immensely when she wasn’t with you. And so, with a self-abandon many began to associate with you, you cried and cried until she was brought to you. With a similar self-surrender, you displayed the pleasure of her company. Which was what made some say that she had bewitched you. She taught you how best you should make use of your own body. She helped you leam to wash it, she assisted you in watching it grow, like the day’s shadow, from the shortest to the longest purposelessness of an
rat race faster than the arms race—and we’re starving! Mogadiscio—whose sand was white as the smoke of a fire just built. Mogadiscio—the most ancient city south of the Sahara, a city bombed by the Portuguese, looted by the Arabs, colonized by the Ottoman Turks, subdued by the Italians and bought, at the turn of the century, by a Zanzibar! who paid for it a little more than Bombay had cost Britain or Manhattan the Dutch. The Sultan of Zanzibar sublet the territory to the Italians. I love its
actions the audience was prescribing as punishment for the woman who, out of jealousy, “took residence” in another; Do you remember? V There was a flood. And you floated. You floated, heavy as a corpse, asleep to the end of the world. You floated easterly towards the sea. You remember someone saying there would no longer be any more rebirths, or renewals of any sort. Millions of people had lost their lives and property in the flood, but then everyone agreed this didn’t matter, for this was
chosen to be delivered, not through the womb, but through a middle finger. There are other epic children who took a day to be conceived and born and yet others required a hundred and fifty years to be bom at all Now why did this “epic child” wait for a hundred and fifty years? Because he made the unusual (I almost said, rational) request not to use as his exit (or was it his entrance) the very organ which his mother employed as her urinary passage. Another feature common among epic children is