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Book Review — ‘The Orchard of Lost Souls’

Updated: Apr 17

Original Article was published in my Medium Page

Picture of the Book — The Orchard of Lost Souls by Nadifa Mohamed

The Conflict in Somalia and neighboring region was an alarm for the world for perpetual days. Any form of Combat or Struggle brings enormous suffering for humans and other living species. The winners rejoice after many casualties and the losers suffers because of the bloodshed. Homes turns into ramshackle; the vengeance turns into carnage and butchery and the cries of the innocents’ looms amongst the haunted villages and towns. Sometimes I think why we fight and for what? Why we need a war and why somewhere our own brothers and sisters from the same species suddenly think the other side as enemies? I tried finding reasons but failed to get a satisfactory answer.

Never ending disputes, regular battle cries sometimes make an ordinary human think as to why we exist. When for the first time I heard the song of one of my favourite singer Michael Jackson, ‘Think about, ehm, the generations and Say we wanna make it a better place for our children, And our children’s children, so that they, They, they know it’s a better world for them, And think if they can make it a better place’ I feel we really need to enlighten ourselves that as a human species we need to live peacefully and focus on development rather than destruction.

Nadifa Mohamed, the author was born in Hargeisa (now in the Republic of Somaliland) in 1981 and moved as a child to England in 1986, staying permanently when war broke out in Somalia. The story in the book circles around three female characters namely Kawsar, an aging widow and who is bed ridden after a brutal assault at a local police station due to her effort of saving a girl from the clatches of her captors; Deqo is a little girl who comes from a refugee camp and Filsan is a young soldier from Mogadishu, who was given charge to oversee the three Guddi units and in turn they have created problems for her and was proud being the member of Africa’s third largest army.

The special moment of the book is when Kawsar sees the orchard from her home and the author Nadifa Mohamed writes:

“In her orchard the trees had been born from deaths; they marked and grew from the remains of the children that had passed through her. She never picked the fruit that fell from them, believing it a kind of cannibalism, but out of those soft, unshaped figures had grown tall, strong, tough-barked trees that blossomed and called birds to their branches and clambered out over the orchard walls to the world beyond…”

These three stories are all about the grapple and scuffle of the three ladies of various ages and their effort to live in situations where being dead was more of a comfortable solution. The stories are full of their attempt and endeavour to live despite their situation in the war strained country.

The book celebrates the essence of life and the wish to stay alive irrespective of the humongous problems that may arise. The stories of the three ladies depicts the same.

Picture of the Book — The Orchard of Lost Souls by Nadifa Mohamed

If I must rate the book on 10 stars and 10 being the highest, I will give the book 8 stars.

(Please Note: The above are my own personal thoughts after going through the book. Your views, facts, and opinions after reading the book may differ)

This is all from me in this short article. Hope you have liked my personal thoughts and opinions. Please share your thoughts or comments.

Thanks for visiting the Book Review Website:

Thanks and Regards:

Mainak Majumdar, Book Critic

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