Hanna Ali‘s four short story compilation will have your heart in your throat. It’s compelling and gut wrenching imagery will make your stomach sink but it will also give you a sense of living life as a black woman from a different perspective.
Born in Mogadishu, Somalia where she spent the first four years of her life, her stories touch up on the black Somali female experience which is unfortunately a narrative that is hardly ever heard. It delves into a world of strict cultural practices to surviving in a home away from home, in the United Kingdom where the traditional Somali cultural practices and beliefs clash with western values.
“As a child refugee, I experienced witnessing a lot of trauma whilst fleeing from the civil war in Somalia in the late 80’s and early 90’s and writing was always an outlet for me to deal with the things that I had experienced”- Hanna
In one of the stories, you meet a young girl unhappy in her marriage and so desperate to leave her husband by trying to plot the unthinkable. It’s an unfortunate case of a young girl married to a man twice her age and as a result, resents her baby boy because his birth sabotaged the plan of her escape. In another story, a young women is pregnant with a racist white man’s child and the realities of their differences slowly creeps up on her as her story develops.
They are rich tales of the realities of life as an immigrant caught between two worlds and two traditions which often repel. These stories are an open window to the realities of the traumas of war and the long lasting effects it has on a child growing up in the west.
It’s an interesting read that will connect you to the human experiences of black women and the limitations the west has, in terms of being true to yourself.
Check out her book here