Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Translators’ Preface

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pp. xi-xii

The act of translating is at once a linguistic and a cultural challenge. In the case of Little Mother the challenge we faced was even greater. Cristina Ali Farah, born of an Italian mother and a Somali father, lived her early years in Mogadishu...

Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

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Introduction

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pp. xv-xxiv

“We are a necklace that broke off whose pearls have been scattered all over the world.” This is the image that Somali- Italian author Cristina Ali Farah often uses to describe the Somali diaspora, which is the implicit protagonist of...

List of main Characters

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pp. xxv-xxviii

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1. Prelude—Domenica Axad

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pp. 1-11

Soomaali baan ahay,1 like my half that is whole. I am the fine thread, so fine that it slips through and stretches, getting longer. So fine that it does not snap. And the tangled mass of threads widens and reveals the knots, clear and tight, that...

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2. Barni

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pp. 12-50

I don’t have much time. But if an hour is enough, OK, I can stay. You’ll work around that? Great, then let’s go out somewhere, we’ll look for a café. This is a good time of day, they won’t be too crowded. We can talk in peace. Give me all the...

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3. Taageere

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pp. 51-85

Halow? Hello? Is that you, Shu-kri? It’s me, Taageere, your ex-husband.
You hardly recognize my voice anymore, do you? I never call? Sure I never call. Every time you start off the same way: You never call, you never call. By the end of the phone call, the only thing you have said is: You never call. A whole...

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4. Axad

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pp. 86-119

My dear Barni, there’s nothing left of the person I was when you knew me. You must have heard something about me from someone. News about these past years, about what happened to me. Even the way I express myself, the way I...

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5. Interlude—Taageere

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pp. 120-127

Xamar, shrouded in silence.
You think that the most terrifying thing is to hear noise. Shots, mortar fire, dha, dha, agonizing screams. Instead, you look straight ahead into that hole down there in the corner of your room and you hear nothing. Crumbling walls. Even...

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6. Barni

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pp. 128-160

Axad, abbaayo, it’s so wonderful to have you here, to experience this magical moment of revelation with you. I feel as though I myself were experiencing this metamorphosis in my own body. And to think that I have assisted with so...

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7. Taageere

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pp. 161-192

You come to me and start asking questions. It’s difficult for me to believe you, do you understand? I’ve nothing against you. But if you present yourself this way, how can I trust you? The worst is that I had to figure it out for myself that...

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8. Domenica

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pp. 193-223

Dear Doctor:
While taking this opportunity to thank you for having worked with me to find a solution, I want to assure you that I will endeavor to narrate the events in the most linear way possible, thereby providing you with a clear and detailed description...

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9. Epilogue—Barni

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pp. 224-230

The summer vacation has begun. Little Taariikh is one year old now; we decided to travel by car in case we felt like stopping to see someone else. Uncle Foodcadde is very excited, he’s already called three times to find out if we are really...

Glossary

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pp. 231-235

About the Author

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