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Links: A Novel (Past Imperfect Trilogy)

(Book #1 in the Past Imperfect Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

From the internationally acclaimed author of North of Dawn , Links is a novel that will stand as a classic of modern world literature. Jeebleh is returning to Mogadiscio, Somalia, for the first time... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Interesting Perspective on Somalia

Prior to reading Links by Nuruddin Farah, my primary image of the Somali civil war came from the movie Black Hawk Down. Seeing the American involvement in Somalia from the perspective of Somalis is a very interesting aspect of this novel. Yet this is just one facet of the novel, which revolves around the story of a Somali-American who returns to his native country to visit family. Jeeblah, the main character, is disgusted by the violence upon his initial return to Somalia. As the plot progresses, though, he is increasingly drawn into the web of violence and revenge. To a degree, his story parallels that of the American intervention in Somalia, beginning with good intentions that get compromised in the context of internecine strife. Links is well-written and interesting, a worthwhile read.

Journey into a Dantean Hell .

This was a provocative ,inspiring read . Farah takes us to a place that exists in the present but is also surreal . It is a story of redemption and self -exploration ,written in a true voice .I thouroughly enjoyed the intimacy of Farahs writing . The characters were real and represented both good and evil . Sometimes within the same persona ! Nuruddin Farah has taken us to a place that we could never fully appreciate without his flourishing prose.This novel should be read by anyone who wishes to explore the inner recesses of the Somalian culture and the pathos that exists during any rebellion .

The Shifting Terrain of a Civil War

In LINKS, a novel set in Somalia after the U.S. "peacekeeping" invasion, Nuruddin Farah has created a powerful psychological landscape of a people torn by civil war. Jeebleh arrives via airplane in Mogadiscio and at once witnesses the senseless murder of a ten year old German boy. When he learns that the teenagers who shot the boy kill for sport, he realizes his beloved country has sunk further than he had imagined. This Somalia is not a land of logic, not one of law and order. Yet, Jeebleh, once a political prisoner, has returned to his homeland for reasons which aren't readily apparent and which put his life in danger. His childhood friends, half-brothers who were raised by Jeebleh's mother as her own sons, oppose each other, thus bringing the precarious nature of this civil war deep into Jeebleh's personal life. Bile is Jeebleh's dear friend, a pacifist, medical doctor, and idealist who runs a refuge for those displaced by the war; Bile has suffered greatly during a lengthy imprisonment and still bears the scars. Caloosha, Bile's older half brother, is a war lord, torturer, and former captor of both Jeebleh and Bile. Caloosha is now suspected of being behind the kidnapping of Bile's charmed and beloved niece Raasta and her playmate. Raasta, who is seen as a miracle child and peacemaker, has become a symbol of hope for many, and her recovery has implications not only for those who love her but for Somalia as a whole.In Farah's Somalia, no one can be trusted. Suspicions run so deep that an enemy can be a temporary savior and a friend can endanger one's life. It is a land scarred by gunshot and desperate poverty. Despite its harrowing decline, Farah's deep affection for his homeland radiates in his descriptions. His sorrow for what has happened resonates in every word. As Jeebleh makes his way through the maze of what's left, we are shown the many sides of modern Somalia and the repercussions of its division.This spectacular novel, despite its emotional force, does have its weaknesses, though they are minor compared to the rewards. Farah's detailed description of Jeebleh's dreams, which alternate between the cryptic and the heavy-handed, add little to the real-life nightmare before him. And the writing (English is not Farah's native language) is occasionally awkward and peppered with similes such as "Bile's features had roughened at the edges, like frozen butter exposed to sudden heat" and "the omelette, which was as cold as a morgue." In these instances, Farah seems to be working too hard to impress - and failing at it - when his honest, direct style does so much more to win over the reader. This straightforward storytelling, used to describe a world that is everything but straightforward, brilliantly evokes the frightening chaos.LINKS is an important literary achievement that deserves to be widely read. Farah's honesty and keen eye have brought a little-understood country and its culture into sharp focus. Unlike the charact

"We should have the vulture as our national symbol."

Returning to Somalia twenty years after he was imprisoned and then sent into exile, Jeebleh arrives at a remote Mogadiscio airport now under the control of a major warlord. He has arrived from his adopted home in America to help his cousin Bile, affiliated with a warlord in the south of the city, find and rescue his kidnapped daughter and a friend. Because he belongs to the same clan as the warlord in the north, Jeebleh may be in a particularly good position to help if the child has been taken by a rival. The political situation is so tangled, however, that at times no one really knows who is allied with whom. "Here," someone says, "we don't think of 'friends' anymore. We rely on our clansmen...sharing ancestral blood."It is not accidental that Jeebleh has received his doctorate for his book on Dante's Inferno, the symbolic parallel for the existentialist nightmare we see in Somalia. "We are at best good badmen or bad badmen," a Somali tells him as he tries to navigate the minefield of loyalties in Mogadiscio and stay alive. As Jeebleh tries to figure out whether his cousin Bile is one of the "good badmen" or "bad badmen" and whether Bile's half-brother in the north is involved in the kidnapping, we learn about his family background, Somali culture and history, and the mysterious associates of various warlords who want to "help" Jeebleh. The novel is filled with high tension as various characters, including Jeebleh, are pulled in different directions by circumstances over which they have no control. His enigmatic dreams and nightmares are much like the reality of life in Mogadiscio, where the crows and vultures are now tame because they are so well fed by the violence.Author Farah's own background as an exiled Somali makes this novel particularly vivid, and the cultural conflicts and the pressures placed on Jeebleh's family loyalties ring with truth. As he represses his American values and makes some major decisions as a Somali, Jeebleh becomes part of the story of Somalia, "I've taken sides and made choices that may put my life in danger." Stressing that it is "only when there is harmony within the smaller unit," i.e., the family, that "the larger community finds comfort in the idea of the nation," Farah creates a taut novel in which the tensions within the family are a microcosm of the tensions within the country. Realistic in its descriptions and allegorical in its implications, Farah's novel is a breathtaking and sophisticated study of violence and betrayal certain to receive international recognition. Mary Whipple
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