Published: 5 July 2012
Hardback, Short Royal HB
156x200mm, 400 pages
Published: 5 July 2012
A dozen years after his last visit, Jeebleh returns to his beloved Mogadiscio to see old friends. He is accompanied by his son-in-law, Malik, a journalist intent on covering the region's ongoing turmoil. What greets them at first is not the chaos Jeebleh remembers, however, but an eerie calm enforced by ubiquitous white-robed figures bearing whips.
Meanwhile, Malik's brother, Ahl, has arrived in Puntland, the region notorious as a pirates' base. Ahl is searching for his stepson, Taxliil, who has vanished from Minneapolis, apparently recruited by an imam allied to Somalia's rising religious insurgency. The brothers' efforts draw them closer to Taxliil and deeper into the fabric of the country, even as Somalis brace themselves for an Ethiopian invasion. Jeebleh leaves Mogadiscio only a few hours before the borders are breached and raids descend from land and sea. As the uneasy quiet shatters and the city turns into a battle zone, the brothers experience firsthand the derailments of war.
Crossbones is a fascinating look at individuals caught in the maw of zealotry, profiteering and political conflict, by one of Africa's most highly acclaimed international writers.
‘Farah reveals the minutiae of survival in a failed ... state that is awash with SIM cards and AK-47s, where television-repair men are spies, reporters are targeted with roadside bombs and petty disputes turn lethal "in less time than it takes to stub out a cigarette".’
‘Over 45 years, Farah has pursued complex, elusive truths as one of Africa's greatest novelists, and a cosmopolitan voice in English-language fiction’
‘Unpicks the forces behind Somalia's complex pirate economy... The novel is in some ways reminiscent of Ryszard Kapuscinski's classic Cold War reportage of conflict in Africa, and Farah's language is ambitiously international in its reach’ Chloe Campbell
‘Crossbones provides a sophisticated introduction to present-day Somalia, and to the circle of poverty and violence that continues to blight the country.’ Hirsh Sawney
‘Gripping but utterly humane thriller set in one of the least-understood regions on earth.’
‘Like Conrad, Farah proves a master of his adopted language, enhancing his narratives with proverbs and instances of institutionalized irrationality.’
‘Often reads like a taut, tense thriller... a thought-provoking read as well as an absorbing look into a culture and a people in extreme circumstances.’
‘Mesmerizing. . . A searing look at individuals caught in the chaos of anarchy.’