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Hating Them

Nuruddin Farah, 18 September 1997

Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa 
by Keith Richburg.
New Republic/Basic Books, 257 pp., £20, June 1997, 0 465 00187 4
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... I have been thinking about Responsibility ever since visiting Mogadiscio last year: the householder’s responsibility to the household, that of the smaller community to the larger, of the larger to the entire nation, and of the nation to the world as a whole. I have thought about all this in reaction to the collapse of several African nations into civil anarchy, Somalia going the way of Liberia, and Rwanda and Burundi moving towards a similar collapse ...

Country Cousins

Nuruddin Farah: The travails of Mogadishu, 3 September 1998

... For centuries, Somalis of pastoralist stock have described Mogadishu as justice-blind, whether they are alluding to the Mogadishu of old, ten centuries back, to the Mogadishu of Siyad Barre, or to the Mogadishu of the civil war. If Mogadishu occupies an ambiguous space in our minds and hearts, it is because ours is a land with an overwhelming majority of pastoralists, who are possessed of a deep urbophobia ...

People of a Half-Way House

Nuruddin Farah, 21 March 1996

... I remember the renegade tears running down the cheeks of my younger sister, who had been among the first boat-loads to arrive in Mombasa. ‘We just escaped,’ she said when I met her in Utange refugee camp, ‘leaving our beds unmade, the chairs in our dining-rooms upturned, our kitchens unswept, our dishes in the sinks, our future undone. We ran as fast as we could, not bothering where we might end up, in the country and among the displaced, or out of it and among the stateless ...

Nuclear Fiction

D.A.N. Jones, 8 May 1986

The Nuclear Age 
by Tim O’Brien.
Collins, 312 pp., £10.95, March 1986, 0 00 223015 1
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Acts of Faith 
by Hans Koning.
Gollancz, 182 pp., £8.95, February 1986, 9780575037441
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A Funny Dirty Little War 
by Osvaldo Soriano, translated by Nick Caistor.
Readers International, 108 pp., £7.95, March 1986, 0 930523 17 2
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by Nuruddin Farah.
Picador, 246 pp., £3.50, March 1986, 0 330 28710 9
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Tennis and the Masai 
by Nicholas Best.
Hutchinson, 176 pp., £8.95, March 1986, 0 09 163770 8
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Dear Shadows 
by Max Egremont.
Secker, 310 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 0 436 14160 4
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... of northern Nigeria, who have adopted the language of the conquered. (It is worth noting that Nuruddin Farah, a Somali with an Indian wife, wrote this novel while living in northern Nigeria. The map of the world in his head is interestingly different from ours.) Askar and Hilaal remember the Goths and the Mongols, called barbarians because they were ...


John Sutherland, 21 January 1982

Brave Old World 
by Philippe Curval, translated by Steve Cox.
Allison and Busby, 262 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 85031 407 0
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The Insider 
by Christopher Evans.
Faber, 215 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 571 11774 0
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by Roy Heath.
Allison and Busby, 185 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 85031 410 0
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From the Heat of the Day 
by Roy Heath.
Allison and Busby, 159 pp., £6.50, October 1979, 0 85031 325 2
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One Generation 
by Roy Heath.
Allison and Busby, 202 pp., £2.50, March 1981, 9780850312546
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by Nuruddin Farah.
Allison and Busby, 250 pp., £7.95, November 1981, 0 85031 408 9
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... as an important achievement. Somalian novels are rare birds in this country, and the sardines of Nuruddin Farah’s title are a group of contemporary Mogadishu ‘priviligentsia’. What cramps their cosmopolitan style is the police state in which they live (tyrannised over by an unnamed ‘General’) and the tribal traditions of a recent feudal ...

The Frighteners

Jeremy Harding, 20 March 1997

The Ends of the Earth 
by Robert Kaplan.
Macmillan, 476 pp., £10, January 1997, 0 333 64255 4
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... home environment in which to work’. Replying in the journal Transition, the Somali novelist Nuruddin Farah confessed to an ‘elemental distrust of essayists who pull the Western Enlightenment out of their holdall’. In the case of Sierra Leone, doubt and distrust should be redoubled by a cursory knowledge of the country’s history – founded on ...

The Uninvited

Jeremy Harding: At The Rich Man’s Gate, 3 February 2000

... playing cat and mouse with immigration authorities. In the mid-1990s, the exiled Somali novelist Nuruddin Farah began to investigate the state of his fellow nationals after the fall of Siyad Barre. Many were refugees in Kenya. Others had made it to Europe, North America and the Gulf. Farah spoke to several of the ...

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