Saba arrives in an East African refugee camp as a young girl, devastated to have been wrenched from school and forced to abandon her books as her family flees to safety. In this unfamiliar, crowded and often hostile community, 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. ‘The exchange of masculine and feminine roles within the context of a sexually conservative culture makes for a gripping and courageous narrative.
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