READ THE WORLD – Somalia: Hiding In Plain Sight by Nuruddin Farah

hiding-in-plain-sightWhen Bella’s beloved half-brother Aar dies in a terrorist attack in Somalia she’s in Rome, living her life as an aloof fashion photographer with no ties and responsibilities. But now her teenage nephew and niece are effectively orphaned (their mother Valerie walked out on them years ago) she must decide whether she can come to their rescue and be their guardian. She travels to Nairobi where the two are in school but confusion and tension lies ahead when Valerie resurfaces bringing her own baggage and claiming she wants full custody of her children.

Hiding in Plain Sight is a story about a family’s grief and different and sometimes strained familial relationships. Salif and Dahaba feel like realistic teenage siblings, they argue and Salif often finds his younger sister annoying. While they both love and like their Aunt Bella they’re unused to her being their main authority figure and all three of them have to figure out where they stand with each other. Then there’s Valerie, an absent mother who’s often needy, selfish and quick to anger. She’s an unlikeable character for the most part but slowly you get to learn about her past and why she acts the way she does – though the story never really condones her actions. (more…)