Monday, September 12, 2011

Help me choose my Eritrea book!

At first I was 100% sure of the book I'd read for Eritrea: Senait Mehari's Heart of Fire: from Child Soldier to Soul Singer.

I mean, just look at the subtitle! Just look at it! Who wouldn't want to read a book like that? Then I decided to check out if this sensational story might be a hoax, and well...

According to this link (and the threads of many furious Eritreans),

1) Senait has publicly admitted to never having fought on the front or fired a gun, as she claimed in her book,

2) A woman named Almaz Yohannes, whom Senait claimed was the brutal military commander of a training centre and ordered children to be killed, was in reality just a 12 year-old student at the time.

So should I read it? Goodreads claims it's stylistically repetitive, too.

My only alternative at present seems to be Hannah Pool's My Father's Daughter, an account of a British adoptee returning to discover her Eritrean biological family.

It sounds like this is a pretty good book, but it's fundamentally from an outsider's point of view. Pool didn't live in Eritrea for a good portion of her life; Senait might be a lying sack of shit, but she's a hell of a lot more Eritrean.

So who do I read? I've set up a poll on the right.

No comments: