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Author(s): Nuruddin Farah

Location(s): Mogadishu (Mogadiscio), Somalia

Genre(s): Autobiography/Memoirs

Era(s): Modern



The last book in the Past Imperfect trilogy. A dozen years after his last visit, Jeebleh returns to his beloved Mogadiscio to see old friends. He is accompanied by his son-in-law, Malik, a journalist intent on covering the region’s ongoing turmoil. What greets them at first is not the chaos Jeebleh remembers, however, but an eerie calm enforced by ubiquitous white-robed figures bearing whips. Meanwhile, Malik’s brother, Ahl, has arrived in Puntland, the region notorious as a pirates’ base. Ahl is searching for his stepson, Taxliil, who has vanished from Minneapolis, apparently recruited by an imam allied to Somalia’s rising religious insurgency. The brothers’ efforts draw them closer to Taxliil and deeper into the fabric of the country, even as Somalis brace themselves for an Ethiopian invasion. Jeebleh leaves Mogadiscio only a few hours before the borders are breached and raids descend from land and sea. As the uneasy quiet shatters and the city turns into a battle zone, the brothers experience firsthand the derailments of war.

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Lead Review

More than 40 years ago, Farah’s first novel From a Crooked Rib described Mogadishu as “a nice place but full of wicked people”. Civil war has destroyed Somalia’s capital, no longer the “pearl of...

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