Yemen, 1935. Jama is a "market boy," a half-feral child scavenging with his friends in the dusty streets of a great seaport. For Jama, life is a thrilling carnival, at least when he can fill his belly. When his motheralternately raging and lovingdies young, she leaves him only an amulet stuffed with one hundred rupees. Jama decides to spend her life's meager savings on a search for his never-seen father; the rumors that travel along clan lines report that he is a driver for the British somewhere in the north. So begins Jama's extraordinary journey of more than a thousand miles north all the way to Egypt, by camel, by truck, by train, but mostly on foot. He slings himself from one perilous city to another, fiercely enjoying life on the road and relying on his vast clan network to shelter him and point the way to his father, who always seems just a day or two out of reach.
In his travels, Jama will witness scenes of great humanity and brutality; he will be caught up in the indifferent, grinding machine of war; he will crisscross the Red Sea in search of working papers and a ship. Bursting with life and a rough joyfulness, Black Mamba Boy is debut novelist Nadifa Mohamed's vibrant, moving celebration of her family's own history.
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Nadifa Mohamed was born in Hargeisa, Somalia, in 1981 to a merchant marine father and a mother from a politically active family, and was trapped in exile when civil war erupted. She studied history and politics at Oxford, and has worked as a film researcher and scriptwriter.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Grasped the flavor of a young boys interactions with his peers and adults without a fathers guidance.
Jama is a young boy living on the streets of Yemen in 1935. His father disappeared years ago and when his mother dies, Jama sets out in search of him. He travels all the way to Egypt, having many adventures, meeting outrageous characters, and eventually learning what is really important to him in life. Jama witnesses and participates in historic events and provides a very different perspective on some of the important happenings of that time. Jama is a likable fellow and I enjoyed traveling with him. He is often funny, sometimes deeply thoughtful, and attracts some interesting people. For me the book was a little unbalanced. I would have preferred a bit less of Jama's search for his father and for wealth and bit more time after he has his epiphany. I felt like I went through all his trials with him only to have the book end before he fully realizes his triumph! Still, the humor and armchair travel make this book worth reading. I listened to Black Mamba Boy on audio. Kevin Kenerly is the narrator and he has a deep, almost breathy voice that adds to the mystery and atmosphere of the story.