What Is the What

[Book Review] I’m normally not much for fiction, real life is powerful enough, but I got this book for Christmas and loved it, devouring it in nearly one sitting.

Based on a true story, but labeled a novel due to one author’s professed difficulty recalling long-ago events, the book was a face slap about events in southern Sudan and nearby areas over the past 20 years. The story traces the life of a single boy, forced to band together with other children into what would become known as the ‘Lost Boys’, as Arab raiders and the Sudanese government wage genocide on southern, Christian tribes. The boys flee the onslaught, their numbers ebbing and flowing as starvation and wild animals take their toll, and further raids add to the number of homeless children on the run.

A relentless, powerful book that lasts long after the cover is closed. For my fellow Korea-specialists reading this page, I would say it compares well with Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag.

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