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Hiding in Plain Sight by Nuruddin Farah
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Hiding in Plain Sight

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Hiding in Plain Sight by Nuruddin Farah
Paperback $18.00
Sep 22, 2015 | ISBN 9781594634109

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  • Sep 22, 2015 | ISBN 9781594634109

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  • Oct 30, 2014 | ISBN 9780698170971

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Praise for Hiding in Plain Sight:

“This novel — Farah’s 12th — takes us deep into the domestic life of a sophisticated African family, with great emotional effect… Each of the kids…becomes starkly real in their intelligence, ingenuity, anger, and grief. Even their outrageous mother (and her selfish choices) seems credible …This family, our families, Africa and Europe and America, have never seemed closer in the way we live now — and this engaging novel, from its explosive beginning to its complex yet uplifting last scenes, shows us why.” —Alan Cheuse, NPR

“Absorbing and provocative… [Farah’s] characters are given heft through personal histories and anecdotes, and he writes evocatively about everything from Nairobi traffic to Kenyan game reserves to, importantly, how Somalis are seen not just through the eyes of others, but through their own.” (4 stars) —USA Today

Hiding in Plain Sight may begin with a terrorist attack…but this is not a novel about violence…The rewards of reading Hiding in Plain Sight lie in Farah’s sensitive exploration of grief and his depiction of a family’s love for one another…Farah is particularly adept at evoking the way in which the sight of a familiar face or place can trigger painful memories and how comfort can come to us from unexpected sources.” —New York Times Book Review
“A rich exploration of political and social crises…[and] a sensitive story about living in the shadow of grief, learning to forgive and trying to answer the question, “What does it mean to be Somali in this day and age?” —Washington Post

Author Essay

Dear Reader,

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT is only the second novel of Nuruddin Farah’s that I’ve edited, although I was aware of – and in awe of – his international reputation long before. What I’ve come to appreciate most deeply in working with him is how human-scale his stories are, how intimate the connections they explore between friends and lovers and family members, wherever they live.

This latest novel is a bit of a departure for Nuruddin. It opens briefly in his native Somalia, where Aar is killed in a suicide bombing at the UN compound where he works. His half-sister, Bella, a globe-trotting photographer, returns to her home in Rome to news of his death. Farah is known for his feisty female characters, but Bella – sophisticated, nontraditional, impossible to pigeonhole or fence in – is a true free spirit. So the dilemma that faces her, whether to give up her independence for the sake of her beloved brother’s children in Nairobi, is a particularly dramatic one. And with the arrival of the children’s mother, a drama queen who has long ago abandoned them but now resurfaces with her girlfriend to stake her claim to them, things get really interesting.

I loved watching how Nuruddin lets his characters unfold, and the detail with which he conveys daily lives that are in some ways very much like our own, against the backdrop of a tumultuous and sometimes violent culture. Tragically, just as Farah was finishing his initial draft of the novel, his own cherished sister, a humanitarian aid worker who had devoted herself to working with refugees, was killed in a bombing in Kabul that eerily mirrored the novel’s opening. In the months that followed, Nuruddin, deep in mourning, nevertheless pushed through the revisions. I believe that the loss suffuses the novel, heightening the heartbreaking and gorgeous contrast between the countless small ways we care for one another and the forces over which we have no control.

All best,

Becky Saletan

Editorial Director, Riverhead Books

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