African Literature · Book Review

Book review – The Attack by Yasmina Khadra

The scene is set with a suicide attack at a restaurant with children in Tel Aviv. We are then introduced to an Arab/Israeli doctor, Amin Jaafari. Going about his duties at the hospital following the attack, he is summoned to identity the body of the attacker as it might be his wife.

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The story follows a heartbroken Amin trailing the last place his wife visited, who she interacted with, reconnecting with families, in a effort to find out, why? His journey through cities in Israel and Palestine is no easy fit and left me frustrated as there was seemingly no answer in sight. I liked the character development of the protagonist. We saw different sides of Amin, from strong and determined in his search to completed broken and stripped off his courage upon meeting “them”.

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The last 2 chapters gave me the closure I needed although i had to research on the Arab/Israeli conflict to better understand the story. The Attack is thought provoking in its themes of faith, identity and love.

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African Literature · Book Review

Book review – Born on a Tuesday

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“Something that has no roots and springs up with leaves and branches everywhere is bound to crash from the weight”.

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This coming of age story takes us on a journey through the life of Dantala set in the north of Nigeria. Growing up in a turmoil filled city, Dantala is faced with a series of tragedy throughout his life and that of friends and family. Going through the challenges of adolescence, his character battles with peer pressure, and goes from partaking in trouble to working on being a better person after meeting a man who was a positive influence but life just doesn’t give him a break!

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Exploring the themes of religion, politics, tribalism, friendship, terrorism, this heartbreaking story is very relevant to today’s Nigeria and gives an insight on how terrorist groups like Boko haram are established, with illiteracy playing a big role in the recruitment young men like Dantala. The reading experience hit close to home as I vividly remember the rise of Boko haram and witnessed religious crisis in my city.

Elnathan did a fantastic job of depicting the reality in the north. I highly recommend this to anyone seeking to learn about the other side of Nigeria.

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