Saba arrives in an East African refugee camp as a young girl, devastated to have been wrenched from school and forced to abandon her books as her family flees to safety. In this unfamiliar, crowded and often hostile environment, she must carve out a new existence. As she struggles to maintain her sense of self, she remains fiercely protective of her mute brother, Hagos – each sibling resisting the roles gender and society assign. Through a cast of complex, beautifully drawn characters, Sulaiman Addonia questions what it means to be a man, to be a woman, to be an individual when circumstance has forced the loss of all that makes a home or a future.
Addonia has written an insider’s view of the textures of life in a refugee camp. Both intimate and epic, this subversive tale of transgression dissects society’s ability to wage war on its own women and explores the stories we must tell to survive in a broken, inhospitable environment.
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