With so much happening in the world it’s easy to forget how alike we really are. Every family has their fair share of drama that they handle in their own way but when a child goes missing, every family’s reactions are universal. Ajie is the youngest of the Utu family and the narrator. The eldest sibling, Paul, leaves to visit a friend and never comes home. Ajie then delves into the family’s past and what school was like and what they did over the summers. It’s not until Ajie and his sister, Bibi, have moved away from home the family finds their closure.
The major portion of the book is Ajie showing us the past. They were a comfortable family who stayed out of the school riots and visited the village their parents grew up in every summer. I understood the reason to show this close knit family’s past but so little time was spent on the disappearance itself, I felt disconnected from the endings climax. The end is so many years later we miss the full collapse of the family and only witness its after affects.
Jowhar Ile’s writing style is a force to be reckoned with. His prose is beautifully crafted and is descriptions are tangible. But nothing felt finished. His chapters were cut off during the scenes and the ending left me feeling unsatisfied. But maybe it was a statement. No matter what happens in life, we keep moving forward, doing mundane, daily activities. It never really ends.
By Emily Coleman