Duniya is raising her twins as a single mother and working long hours as a nurse at a Mogadiscio hospital, certain she can do just fine without anyone's help. But the fragile self-sufficiency of her world has been rocked by her daughter's latest act of rebellion: bringing home a mysterious foundling infant. And when Duniya impulsively accepts the favor of a ride to work from a charming, wealthy, and romantically-interested family friend, she opens up a part of herself that she closed off long ago. Instantly, her whole life is turned upside down. Meanwhile, the hospital where Duniya works is under siege by a desperate population that has been ravaged by war, drought, disease, and famine. Somalia has been invaded by relief organizations from America and Europe, but many Somalis chafe at being burdened with debts they can never hope to repay, and at having to accept tainted goods for which they're obliged to show gratitude. They, like Duniya, however, are being forced to reexamine old choices and to make new ones that reveal what they truly care about. With a lyrical and luxuriant prose, Farah weaves a spellbinding tapestry of dreams, memories, family lore, folktales, and journalistic accounts. A master of mingling the intensely personal with the intently political, he explores how histories-global, familial, personal-are molded from the stories we tell and retell. In Farah's hands, as Duniya's tale unfolds against the backdrop of Somalia's struggles, it becomes emblematic of an entire people.
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