Close Sesame A Novel


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Graywolf Press


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1555971628

9781555971625

256 Pages

$14.00

CAD16.00

Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy
Farah's landmark Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship trilogy is comprised by the novels Sweet and Sour Milk, Sardines, and Close Sesame. In this volume, the third and final book, the characters are deeply entwined in the waking nightmare of a police state. An old man finds himself poised in mortal combat with an elusive and cunning enemy in an atmosphere where the distinction between public and private justice is always obscured. Close Sesame is a novel that offers "an eloquent indictment of the tyrannies committed both under Islamic law and in the name of Socialism" (The Observer).

REVIEWS

Praise for Close Sesame

"Farah's provocative trilogy is one of the most powerful novelistic explorations of dictatorship since Asturias' El Señor Presidente or Roa Bastos' I the Supreme . . . He is a major writer, one of Africa's best, and this splendid and very readable trilogy is the centerpiece of his considerable accomplishments."—Robert Coover

"I used Farah's Close Sesame for the first time in my African literature course last semester, and had a wonderful time with it. There are a number of things that recommend Close Sesame: the theme (of how, after a lifetime of non-violence, one man opts to become an assassin) is in some ways unexpected and challenges complacent American assumptions about political realities and individual responses; the use of language, and of languages (which John Updike once decried in reviewing Ngugi wa Thiongo's fiction), creates both a cultural and semiotic experience of Somalia and Africa for the reader that simultaneously emphasizes our similarities and differences; and the characterizations, of devout Muslims who are also cosmopolitan intellectuals, sensitive human beings, and extremely empathetic individuals, seem the perfect antidote for some of the most pernicious assumptions about Islam rampant in the popular American mind. Close Sesame provided several of the best classroom sessions of my course. I was impressed enough by the class's reaction to the novel that I'm planning a web page of explanatory notes for the next time I teach it."—D. Mesher, San Jose State University

"Farah has admirable poetic gifts for conclusion, clarity, and wit."—London Magazine

"In terms of vitality, compassion, and the ability to take literary risks, [Farah's] talent demands recognition."—British Book Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Nuruddin Farah was born in 1945 in Baidoa, in what is now the Republic of Somalia. His Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship trilogy consists of the novels Sweet and Sour Milk, Sardines, and Close Sesame. His other books include From a Crooked Rib, A Naked Needle, and Maps. In 1991, he received the Swedish Tucholsky Literary Award, given to literary exiles, and he was the recipient of the German DAAD fellowship in 1990.

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BACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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  • Nuruddin Farah was born in 1945 in Baidoa, in what is now the Republic of Somalia. His Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship trilogy consists of the novels Sweet and Sour Milk, Sardines, and Close Sesame. His other books include From a Crooked Rib, A Naked Needle, and Maps. In 1991, he received the Swedish Tucholsky Literary Award, given to literary exiles, and he was the recipient of the German DAAD fellowship in 1990.
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