I finished this book around a fortnight ago now and it has taken me this long to form my thoughts about it into any sort of cohesion.
I found the first half of this novel a struggle – purely down to my own ignorance. I knew nothing of the context the novel was set in – didn’t even consider that there was an Italian invasion of Ethiopia. With that ignorance, plus swathes of unfamiliar names and words, reading the novel made me feel like I was part of some sort of mental battle. I had a double sided sheet of paper with names and who I thought each character was, place names and context clues. It was not for the faint-hearted. Then something happened.
Somehow I fell in love with the plight and struggle of the main characters, I wanted to stand and fight with the women. I wanted everyone to know who stood up when the time came and who was nowhere to be seen. The lyrical writing style that challenged me before, surrounded me by the end. Never before has a book led me through such a journey of struggle and out of the other side in such a direct way.
This book has educated me, horrified me, enchanted me, empowered me and broken my heart.
If you fancy picking this up – please persevere. You definitely will not be disappointed.