“The avoidance of shame seems to be at the heart of everything in a girl’s life.”

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 342

Published: 31st July, 2013

Rate: 4 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

It is 1987 and Hargeisa waits. Whispers of revolution travel on the dry winds, but still the dictatorship remains secure.
Soon, through the eyes of three women, we will see Somalia fall.
Nine-year-old Deqo has left the vast refugee camp where she was born, lured to the city by the promise of her first pair of shoes.
Kawsar, a solitary widow, is trapped in her little house with its garden clawed from the desert, confined to her bed after a savage beating in the local police station.
Filsan, a young female soldier, has moved from Mogadishu to suppress the rebellion growing in the north.
As the country is unraveled by a civil war that will shock the world, the fates of these three women are twisted irrevocably together.

My Take

An Orchard of Lost Souls was my first Nadifa Mohammed book and definitely not my last. This book was such a roller coaster of emotions. I was sad, I was angry, I was hesitant and even found moments of joy. Nadifa’s writing is beautiful and straightforward, on to the point and I really appreciated it. She crafts such an intricate and intimate story that is well told and had me captivated from the first page.

The book is set in 1987 – 1988 Somalia. Right at the cusp of the civil war. We follow the story through women and what a story it is. We have the child Deqo, Filsan the one in her mid-twenties and Kaswar, the old lady. Seeing the contrasting realities is quite interesting. I favored much Deqo & Kaswar’s stories; I felt that they were more open, honest and raw. Insightful too!

“They look like illustrations in a school textbook, everybody equal in the same garments & just a few lines on the face or a stooped back delineating age.”

The character development in An Orchard of Lost Souls is really good and I enjoyed seeing their growth. Nadifa Mohammed brings her characters to life and they come of the page so well it’s really great to watch.

The one thing I didn’t like was the ending. It is more of a preference and after reading all that, that ending felt a little too easy.

An Orchard of Lost Souls is a historical fiction that is a well written and a well told and I loved every minute of reading it. I definitely recommend.

Have you read this book? What did you think about it?