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Close Sesame: A Novel (Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship) Paperback – August 22, 2006

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4 Stars and Up Feature: Kitchens of the Great Midwest
"Foodies and those who love contemporary literature will devour this novel that is being compared to Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge. A standout." --Library Journal Learn more
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Close Sesame: A Novel (Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship) + Sweet and Sour Milk (Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship) + Sardines: A Novel (Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship)
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This loosely connected trilogy by Somalia's best-known writer first appeared in Britain a decade ago. The "dictatorship" of the series title is that of Mohamed Siad Barre, who ruled the northeast African nation until 1991. Since then, civil war has engulfed Somalia, making the novels' republication politically timely; the question of their literary value is less straightforward. The first novel in the series, Sweet and Sour Milk , follows Loyaan's investigation of his dissident brother's apparent murder. Although it is Farah's third novel, it reads like apprentice work. Scenes are clumsily developed, and the novel's progress is routinely interrupted by passages of awkward description: "The sky, or what he could see of it, flaunted, like a peacock, its starry-eyed exhibitionism." Farah writes in English, but it is clearly not his native language. Sardines , which focuses on relationships among Somali women, marks a considerable advance. Farah contrasts the Westernized attitudes of Medina with the traditional values of her mother-in-law, Idil. At stake is the fate of Medina's daughter Ubax, whom Medina is determined to save from the crippling Somali rite of circumcision. Farah writes more empathetically of women than men, here producing a richly detailed study of shifting power in a changing if politically repressive society. The trilogy concludes with the elegiac Close Sesame . The aged Deeriye studies his Koran and muses on his deceased (yet still beloved) wife, his years in prison under colonial and nationalist regimes, and his son's involvement in a revolutionary group. The political questions handled so badly in Sweet and Sour Milk are finally given human dimension. This series is recommended as a whole only for collections specializing in Third World studies. Sardines is essential for feminist collections. General readers with an interest in Africa will find Sardines and especially Close Sesame most rewarding.
- Grove Koger, Boise P.L., Id.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"A chilling exploration of corruption and terror . . . Mr. Farah has given us a powerful political statement that moves constantly toward song." --The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • Series: Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press; Reprint edition (August 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555971628
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555971625
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #639,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Michael Terry on October 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
farah is one of africa's best living writers. beautiful, profound writing. i use this with my adult somali esl students. makes them very proud.
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Close Sesame: A Novel (Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship)
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