Monday, May 19, 2008

The Translator...random thoughts

First of all, let me thank Megan once again for passing this book along to very sweet of her! I'll be passing it along to one of you soon as well, but Rich wants to read it first.

The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur by Daoud Hari. The title alone clues one in. Darfur. It's not going to be an easy read.

And, of course, it wasn't. How could it possibly be easy to read about the depraved acts that man plies upon man. Daoud Hari does not share horror after horror after horror with us, however. Though he himself witnessed numerous horrors, and heard countless more from refugees as he worked as an interpreter for the United Nations and U.S. State Department as they conducted interviews to make a legal determination as to whether genocide was occurring, he shares but a minute fraction of these stories. A minute fraction is enough. In fact, one particular story was enough to cause me nightmares. I've read "tough" books before, but this is the first time I've ever had a nightmare as a result. A story of a loving father, tied to a tree and beaten. Then forced to watch his 4-year-old daughter's brutal murder.

In quite a different way, it was an easy read. Not content-wise, of course, but in the way it is written. Daoud Hari writes in such a simple, straight-forward manner. He talks directly to the reader. He even manages to inject humor into his story. But he is never disrespectful. Never.

While the story he tells is a personal one, it is also a story of his home, Darfur. And one of the things that makes these horrors all the harder to bear is the fact that this is happening now. Not ancient history. But current event. Not past. But present.

And still, Dauod Hari is a man of great hope. He writes in the introduction:

"If God must break your leg He will at least teach you to limp"--so it is said in Africa. This book is my poor limping, a modest account that cannot tell every story that deserves telling. I have seen and heard many things in Darfur that have broken my heart. I bring the stories to you because I know most people want others to have good lives, and, when they understand the situation, they will do what they can to steer the world back toward kindness.

"...they will do what they can to steer the world back toward kindness." For a man who has seen what he has seen to write these words is the most beautiful sign of hope I can possibly imagine.

I really don't know what else to say about this book. Read it. Really.


If you've reviewed this book (and I know many people have), please leave me a link in the comments and I'll add it here. Thanks.

*Megan of Leafing through Life
*Natasha at Maw Books
*Somer at SomeReads
*Chris at Stuff As Dreams Are Made On


Melody said...

What a beautiful review, Debi! I've this book in my pile and can't wait to read it.

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Thanks Debi for linking over to my review. This book is amazing. I still think about it often. A tough read but one that everybody should take the time to discover. Great review!

Chris said...

What a fantastic review Debi! I'm officially adding this to my next book order/purchase/spree. I've been wanting to fit in some non-fic somewhere along the line here and this has been one I've been meaning to read. It's so sad that all of this actually happens in our world and it's amazing when people like Daoud Hari are able to gleam the positive from it. Thanks for this.

Nymeth said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Debi. You expressed yourself beautifully. I will definitely read this one.

Trish said...

Thanks for the great review, Debi! I have this one on my shelf and hope to read it soon (I saw that about a lot of books, though). I feel very uneducated about the happenings in Africa, but am trying to remedy that--hopefully this book is a start.

Almost through with All the King's Men. Oh my goodness will it be a huge weight off my shoulders to be able to throw that one on the "read" shelf. :)

Bookfool said...

What a terrific review. I'm known for my nightmares, but I'm tempted to read it, anyway. What an amazing attitude the author has!

Kim L said...

I have been wanting to read this one, but your review makes it really stand out. Thanks for sharing! I can imagine that it is a hard book to read, but one that makes you think. Those are the best.

Somer said...

Here's a link to my review of The Translator:

I'll add a link to yours to my review.

kreed said...

So I think I'll have to pscyhe myself up to read this one...sounds good but a little too intense for me right now.

BTW, I updated my pertinent info and will just send "Oscar Wao" (and any others I may have that you want to read-I'll check what you have when the time comes) to you next time I send a box your way. I'm not sorry I read it...I think it may have just been a little too smart for my current state of mind!

kreed said...

I'd love to read this book someday, so I'll take it if you're looking to get rid of it. We probably need to set up some sort of internal book exchange between our two families - we could double our TBR piles!

Anonymous said...

i know what you mean about books like that being easy reads.

some non-fiction books like that can read almost like a conversation...

Joy said...

Glad to see another positive review! I have this on my TBR list and hope to get to it this year.

valentina said...

When I think about this book, my first memory is of those girls in the camp who had to go get water every day outside the camp and they were raped every single time. But they still went to take water because they had to. This thought still haunts me.

valentina said...

oh btw I forgot the link to my review:)

The Translator