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Close sesame
Farah, Nuruddin
Adult Fiction FARAH

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MAPS, Nuruddin Farah, 0-14-029643-3 The 1998 laureate of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, Nuruddin Farah has been described as "one of the finest contemporary African novelists" (Salman Rushdie). Farah was born in 1945, in what is now Somalia (what was then the Italian Somaliland), in Baidoa, and grew up in Kallafo, under Ethiopian rule in Ogaden. The ethnically and linguistically mixed area of his childhood contributred to his early fascination with literature. He spoke Somali at his home but at school learned Amharic, Italian, Arabic, and English. Farah worked for the Ministry of Education in Somalia before leaving for India to study philosophy and literature. His first novel, From a "Crooked Rib", was published in 1970; it has since achieved worldwide cult status, admired for its empathetic portrait of a Somali woman struggling with the restraints of traditional Somali society. It was followed by "A Naked Needle" (1976). Farah's next three novels, "Sweet and Sour Milk" (1979), "Sardines" (1981) and "Close Sesame" (1983), form the trilogy collectively known as "Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship". Upon the publication of "Sweet and Sour Milk", which won the English Speaking Union Literary Award, Farah became persona non grata in his native Somalia. In exile, Farah began what has become a lifelong literary project: "to keep my country alive by writing about it." The "Variations" trilogy was followed by the "Blood in the Sun" trilogy, which consists of "Maps" (1986), "Gifts" (1992), and "Secrets" (1998). Farah lives in Cape Town, South Africa, with his wife and two children.

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