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In a time of war, what is the shape of love?
Saba arrives in an East African refugee camp as a young girl, devastated to have been wrenched from school and forcedf to abandon her books as her family flees to safety. In this unfamiliar, crowded and often hostile environment, she must carve out a new existence. As she struggles to maintain her sense of self, she remains fiercely protective of her mute brother, Hagos – each sibling resisting the roles gender and society assign. Through a cast of complex, beautifully drawn characters, Sulaiman Addonia questions what it means to be a man, to be a woman, to be an individual when circumstance has forced the loss of all that makes a home or a future.
Addonia has written an insider's view of the textures of life in a refugee camp. Both intimate and epic, this subversive tale of transgression dissects society's ability to wage war on its own women and explores the stories we must tell to survive in a broken, inhospitable environment.
A gripping and courageous narrative. Both Saba and Hagos ultimately gain from the trade-off and find the strength to break out of the suffocating expectations their community has of them. A feminist book, then, and, exhilaratingly, so much more. Guardian
Addonia spent several years as a child in a Sudanese refugee camp and you can sense the impact of that period on his richly written second novel, which brims with the sensory flavours of remembered experience. Daily Mail
Addonia, who spent his own early life in a Sudanese refugee camp, has a unique & intelligent voice which makes sensual evocative poetry of the deepest, fiercest emotions. Big Issue
The night Saba's trail was announced by the camp's court clerk, I was sitting on a stool in front of my cinema screen. Cinema Silenzio.
Dusk fell over the thatched roofs. A full moon appeared over the camp I viewed through my screen . . I saw the clerk riding his donkey in the dusty narrow streets. His silhouette skittered among the huts.
You are requested to attend the trial of Saba, he declared through his microphone.