Molly's Reviews

Offspring of ParadiseOffspring of a Paradise
Safi Abdi
1st Books Library
Buy from Amazon

Interesting read Happy to Recommend 4 stars

Hana is only six when her world is turned upside down. Clan wars have begun in Somalia. Her father is dead by only hours, her brothers are taking part in the rampaging, her uncle is trying to spirit his mother and his brother's pregnant wife and young child away from danger when they are ambushed. Hana and her grandmother spend two years on the run before finally reaching the faint sanctuary of 'the wall' where they will live for a time. Hana becomes a school girl, the pair meet Mulki and Rune who offer hope, her grandmother dies, life goes on. First one then another apparent friend surface, prove themselves true or false and perhaps disappear again. At last Hana is on her way home to meet the mother lost to her when her sad journey began.

Writer Abdi states that the characters and specific narrative in her work are fictional as she details with clarity of one who has seen much of the horror of war and desperation of the refugees living in Somalia during the ethnic cleansing that took place during the last century. The Somalian Civil war lasted for over a decade, Abdi brings to life some of the thousands who were killed, raped and
maimed in the process and the thousands more were uprooted and left to try to make some type of life for themselves.

From the opening lines found in the pages of "Offspring of a Paradise" Writer Abdi has created a gripping if chilling work. As we follow Little Hana and her family making their desperate try for escape right on to the last paragraph when we find a more grown up Hana hopeful that she will have a better future Abdi outlines the desperation of a whole body of people. Those who were facing discrimination were willing to use any means available for escape from the destruction and spoliation that becomes a reality in the country that was once the Somalia Democratic Republic. Reading "Offspring of a Paradise" brings the reader right into the plight of the downtrodden; writer Abdi skillfully presents the notion that you are in the thick of what may well have taken place during that troublesome time.

On the pages of "Offspring of a Paradise" Writer Abdi has crafted a startling, potent work filled with generously drawn characters, perilous story line, near to overwhelming state of affairs, prejudice and at times pleasantly puzzling discord in this powerful read. "Offspring of a Paradise" is the second book from this talented writer who is already hard at work on her next offering. Abdi also writes poetry and short stories which she posts on various writing sites on the internet.

Some minor language issues for the American reader are easily resolved. "Offspring of a Paradise" includes a glossary of terms to aid those who might not be conversant with some of the terms. "Offspring of a Paradise" is a good book for a quiet, thoughtful afternoon, happy to recommend.




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2005 by Molly Martin