I am not the biggest fan of short stories but once in a while a bundle of them makes their way into my life and as a total reading addict I will give it a fair chance. “The Lion’s binding oath and other stories” was a welcome change from my staple diet of crime fiction novels.
Written by Ahmed Ismail Yusuf raised as a nomad in Somalia that turned into a brilliant author. The stories are written in the most beautiful almost poetic language – descriptive and almost musical. The smell, tastes and people of Somalia is vividly portrayed in all it’s colour and lively culture.
The horrid sounds of war are never too far in the background. The stories range from the almost ordinary life with soccer, family and social events to the harrowing reality of war at it’s worst. “The vulture has landed” has left me in tears – the story of the sisters will never leave my memory. My favorite story however is the title story that has a touch of magic realism and a beautiful positive ending to this book that through the horrors of war leaves us with the wonder of the resilience of the people of Somalia in rebuilding their country.
I found the very small typeface a bit uncomfortable but it takes only a story or two to adjust your eyes. Not always an easy read it is however extremely interesting and a beautiful piece of prose. For something different and culturally enriching I would certainly recommend this book.