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When a Hyena Laughs

A Somalian Novel



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When a Hyena Laughs: A Somalian Novel by Abdi Sheik- Abdi
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"...I found myself thoroughly entranced by this quiet, slow gentle storytelling -- all the more violence in the death of Habib (not described) at the end, which makes its impact as symbolic of the violation of the country (by foreign rule) and threatened end of a way of life. The meeting of the men at the beginning, around Au-Hersey the self-indulgent and self-important old priest, in preparation for the caravan, is beautifully observed: the weight of custom, the restlessness of the young, the sparseness of comfort. The relations with Au-Hersey's family, his own with his independent young wife, hers with Olaad her stepson, Olaad's with the spoilt younger son -- are equally minutely expressed, funny sad and convincing. And Olaad's suppressed passion, his desperation and flight are amazingly powerful. Throughout this stark physically felt desert life is interspersed descriptions of the contrasting city, already decadent, invaded, the place from which the threat will come. Galkayo is the money economy, the source of corruption, yet inevitably where the action is...Writing is sensitive, direct, and full of gentle wit...A rare Novel, a writer worth discovering..." -- R de Lanerolle.

Author Biography

Abdi Sheik-Abdi
Release date NZ
January 1st, 1994
Country of Publication
United States
Dr Leisure
Product ID

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