Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Review of 'Sweet and Sour Milk' by Nuruddin Farah

"Winner of the 1980 English-speaking Union Literary Award, the first novel of Farah's universally acclaimed Variations 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 oppression reduces our hero's quest to a passive and fatalistic level; his search for reasons and answers ultimately becomes a search for meaning.  The often detective-story-life narrative of this novel thus moves on a primarily interior place as Farah takes us deep into territory he has charted and mapped and made uniquely his own."

This book was way above my maturity level... This could be because I've never read anything dealing with politics (unless you consider something World War II-themed to be political) and I was only vaguely familiar with Somalia in general (meaning I knew of its existence and where it was, but that's the extent of my knowledge).  Because of those two things, reading this book was a very difficult task.  It was only when I really started to write my paper (I had trouble writing my paper too... I had a lot of false starts...) and doing a bit of research that I began to understand what was going on.  And it was also quite interesting.

I'll keep my review relatively short because I don't have a for-sure stance on this book.  I really want to like it, but at this point in time, the material just went right over my head and I can't like or dislike something that I don't completely understand.

I liked that this book took place in Somalia.  Nuruddin Farah is one of the few writers that writes about Somalia.  That was a nice change that immediately stood out to me (and not just because we talked about this fact in my English class).

"Sweet and Sour Milk" is confusing only if you don't know anything about Somalia (either now or in the 1970s). However, if you do have a decent amount of background knowledge about Somalia, enjoy a little mystery and/or politics, this book might be worth your while!

I give "Sweet and Sour Milk":
Thanks for reading!


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