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A Novel
Nuruddin Farah
Winner of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature

Farah's landmark Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship trilogy is comprised by the novels Sweet and Sour MilkSardines, and Close Sesame. In this volume, the second of the three, a woman loses her job as editor of the national newspaper and then finds her efforts to instill her daughter with a sense of dignity and independence threatened by an oppressive government and the traditions of conservative Islam.

Sardines brilliantly combines a social commentary on life under a dictatorship with a compassionate exploration of African feminist issues.

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The masterful second book in the Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship trilogy

About the Author

Nuruddin  Farah
Credit: Arja Teikola
Nuruddin Farah is the winner of the 1998 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. He is the author of ten novels, including Sweet and Sour Milk, Sardines, and Close Sesame. Farah, who was exiled from his native Somalia twenty-five years ago, lives in Cape Town, South Africa, with his wife, daughter, and son.

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  • “Farah is in control of his enormous talents as a novelist, writing in the best tradition of Solzhenitsyn and Gabriel García Márquez.”—World Literature Today 
  • "Nuruddin Farah is a writer who is not limited to the issues facing his homeland. No matter what his future concerns will be or where he chooses to write them from, his is a voice that demands to be heard."—Seattle Weekly
  • "Farah's trilogy isn't simply a period piece. There are still dictators in the world, and as they topple one by one, people still struggle against their legacies. 'What I never could have predicted,' says a character in Close Sesame, 'is how easily governable we are. . . . The Grandest Actor performs in front of an applauding audience that should be booing him.' Such an expression overflows the boundaries of Somalia."—Utne Reader


This book is made possible through a partnership with the College of St. Benedict, in honor of the legacy of S. Mariella Gable, a distinguished teacher at the College, and by the generosity of Graywolf Press donors like you.
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