A dozen years after his last visit, Jeebleh returns to his beloved Mogadiscio to see old friends. He is accompanied by his son-in-law, Malik, a journalist intent on covering the region’s ongoing turmoil. What greets them at first is not the chaos Jeebleh remembers, however, but an eerie calm enforced by ubiquitous white-robed figures bearing whips.
Meanwhile, Malik’s brother, Ahl, has arrived in Puntland, the region notorious as a pirates’ base. Ahl is searching for his stepson, Taxliil, who has vanished from Minneapolis, apparently recruited by an imam allied to Somalia’s rising religious insurgency. The brothers’ efforts draw them closer to Taxliil and deeper into the fabric of the country, even as Somalis brace themselves for an Ethiopian invasion. Jeebleh leaves Mogadiscio only a few hours before the borders are breached and raids descend from land and sea. As the uneasy quiet shatters and the city turns into a battle zone, the brothers experience firsthand the derailments of war.
Completing the trilogy that began with Links and Knots, Crossbones is a fascinating look at individuals caught in the maw of zealotry, profiteering, and political conflict, by one of our most highly acclaimed international writers.
"Politically courageous and often gripping… Crossbones provides a sophisticated introduction to present-day Somalia, and to the circle of poverty and violence that continues to blight the country." –The New York Times Book Review
"Mesmerizing… A searing look at individuals caught in the chaos of anarchy." –The Daily Beast
“A fiercely critical, ruefully funny, profoundly compassionate portrait… [that] humanizes the dire complexities inherent to a place fractured by perpetual violence, corruption, outside exploitation, bone-deep poverty, and fanaticism. A writer of charm, wit, conscience, and penetrating vision, Farah is a commanding and essential global writer.” –Booklist
"Often reads like a taut, tense thriller… a thought-provoking read as well as an absorbing look into a culture and a people in extreme circumstances." –The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Farah has become the voice of the Somalian diaspora, telling stories of political, religious, and family conflict without sentimentality… Like Conrad, Farah proves a master of his adopted language, enhancing his narratives with proverbs and instances of institutionalized irrationality.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Harrowing without resorting to sensationalism… It is dense, complex stuff, but [Farah’s] brave and imperfect characters are a pleasure to follow. [A] gripping but utterly humane thriller set in one of the least understood regions on earth." –Kirkus Reviews
“Combines an intimate dissection of power within the family with a strong dose of skepticism about the machinations of national and global power.” –The Economist
“Farah’s accomplishment is, through art, showing us both the value and the devaluing of life through the machinations of historical, political and social power.” –The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Adopts an almost thriller-like realism to give an account of modern-day Somalia… Crossbones is well worth the read.” –The Boston Globe
“Vivid and detailed… [Farah’s] understanding of human relationships is spot on, as are the twists and turns in this suspenseful drama.” –Ebony
"Farah writes enthrallingly about his native Somalia… Expect sharp insight into both human nature and secretarian strife, told in illuminating language free of cant." –Library Journal
"[Farah] writes beautifully and prolifically about his native Somalia." –TheMillions.com