"Youngthing"
by Nuruddin Farah
Originally published in the December 13, 2010 issue of The New Yorker.

I haven’t read this story yet, but please feel free to comment below.

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By |2016-06-27T14:30:47-04:00December 6th, 2010|Categories: New Yorker Fiction, Nuruddin Farah|Tags: |4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Trevor Berrett December 6, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    New forum up.

  2. Ken December 15, 2010 at 7:08 am

    I found this interesting enough as reportage from a war-torn part of the world but not particularly artful. The story of a child soldier and of the various victims and participants in violent civil war waged by Islamist fundamentalists doesn’t offer any particularly new illumination but is still compelling enough and a glimpse into the horrific world of constant battle and slaughter.

  3. Betsy December 17, 2010 at 8:26 am

    I found Nuruddin Falah’s story thought provoking. As an author who has been in exile for many years, Farah has continued to write about Somalia from a distance. The risk is, of course, that from from a remove of years and at a distance, you might get it wrong. So, in a way, imagining what might be the nature of the truth there is an act of risky devotion. A character who is about to die thinks: “it is in such a scene, where violence gains the upper hand, that one can bear testimony to tragedy in all its registers: a country held to ransom, a people subjected to daily humiliation, a nation sadly put to the sword.” Because the news out of Somalia is fragmented, the country actually seems to lie in a province beyond tragedy, making the exercise of trying to imagine the suffering of its peoples worth trying, worth printing, worth reading. Farah ends the story when one of the murderers, having completed his assignment, “unscrews the silencer of his gun.” Terrorism, of course, depends upon its power to silence. Farah, despite threats to his existence, refuses to be silenced. So one wonders, what else has he written? What else has anyone from Somalia written? One of Falah’s characters thinks: “After all, every resident of this city is guilty, even if no one admits to being a culprit.” Staying silent, avoiding all risk, is the essence of that complicity.

  4. Aaron December 29, 2010 at 9:23 am

    I wrote about this here, but in summary, the best thing about the story is the accompanying picture, which exaggerates the very tragic image that Farah supplies: “A small-boned, four-and-a-half-foot-tall figure–a dwarf, she thinks at first–hoisting a carryall bigger and heavier than he is.” Given how little description, emotion, and thought Farah adds to the story, he might as well have just added a caption to Emmanuel Guibert’s illustration — his context doesn’t do nearly enough to justify this story. I find it particularly telling how quickly Farah jumps away from YoungThing’s voice.

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