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Black Mamba Boy

Longlisted for the Orange Prize and winner of the Betty Trask Award. For fans of Half of a Yellow Sun, a stunning novel set in 1930s Somalia spanning a decade of war and upheaval, all seen through the eyes of a small boy alone in the world.

Aden, Yemen, 1935; a city vibrant, alive, and full of hidden dangers. And home to Jama, a ten year-old boy. But then his mother dies unexpectedly and he finds himself alone in the world.

Jama is forced home to his native Somalia, the land of his nomadic ancestors. War is on the horizon and the fascist Italian forces who control parts of East Africa are preparing for battle. Yet Jama cannot rest until he discovers whether his father, who has been absent from his life since he was a baby, is alive somewhere.

And so begins an epic journey which will take Jama north through Djibouti, war-torn Eritrea and Sudan, to Egypt. And from there, aboard a ship transporting Jewish refugees just released from German concentration camps, across the seas to Britain and freedom. This story of one boy’s long walk to freedom is also the story of how the Second World War affected Africa and its people; a story of displacement and family.

Weight 226.7962 g
Dimensions 130 × 19 × 197 mm
Weight 226.7962 g
Dimensions 130 × 19 × 197 mm










Publishing Date:

8 May 2010


Nadifa Mohamed


Harper Collins Publishers


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Editorial Review

“Ambitious . . . [a] phenomenal fast-forward story. . . . The novel takes on a Job-like tenor.”
The New York Times Book Review

“A stunning first novel . . . This powerful novel is both a bracing lesson in World War II history and a brutal description of individual survival.”
Boston Globe

“An engrossing debut . . . filled with petty cruelties and hardship, but it also overflows with life . . . Black Mamba Boy tells an important story in an engaging fashion--one with much relevance to today's world.” Bookpage