The Orchard of Lost Souls by Nadifa Mohamed

The Orchard of Lost Souls

Nadifa Mohamed

This book is beautiful but hard to read. It's the story of how three women, of different ages, survive the civil war in Somalia. It weaves the stories of Kawsar, Diqo and Filsan together through chance and circumstance. Kawsar is a widow, Diqo a 9 year old refugee and Filsan a soldier in the national army. Fate brings them together in Hargeisa, a northern city and the three become entrapped in a battle. The question is this: will they survive?


Filsan spends the days in Hargeisa but the nights in the city she misses so much that she wakes with its spicy marine scent in her hair.  Mogadishu the beautiful - your white-turbaned mosques, baskets of anchovies as bright as mercury, jazz and shuffling feet, bird-boned servant girls with slow smiles, the blind white of your homes against the sapphire blue of the ocean - you are missed, her dreams seem to say. The memories cleave to her ribs like barnacles. She feels an exile but does not understand what keeps her here: ambition, a desire for change, a need to escape from her father - it doesn't seem enough to make her stay away.

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