"In a penetrating story of contemporary Nigeria, twin brothers want to escape their village of Keti, and war seems the best way to fame and glory. But Mamo has sickle-cell disease, and he must stay home, reading his brother's letters about adventures across the border and, later, about the brutal wars in which he fights. The twins' wealthy politician father rejects the "weak," sickly son, but an uncle inspires Mamo to attend university, read widely, and teach. By the time the soldier returns many years later, Mamo has been offered work as palace biographer, but, instead of the expected hagiography, he writes a true history of his people. Inspired by Plutarch, he tells the stories of individual people, "farmers, workers, housewives." Prizewinning Nigerian writer Habila does just that, too, portraying with great immediacy the twins' extended family, their lovers, and neighbors. Best of all is the realistic drama of tradition and modernity--the evils of both but also the rich possibilities that come with their complex interaction.""
Hazel Rochman, Booklist - Copyright © American Library Association.