Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Translator by Daoud Hari

While The Translator may be a quick read, it is most definitely not an easy read. My first reaction when I saw this book listed as an Early Reviewer option on LibraryThing was that it sounded depressing and definitely not a "light" read. And I was right. But my second thought was that something dreadful is going on in Darfur, and I am woefully uninformed. So I requested it. I'm very glad to have gotten this book and to have become just a bit more informed about the monstrosities going on a world away from my comfortable, middle-class home in America.

A friend of mine reviewed this book yesterday and was disappointed that the focus was more on Hari's imprisoments than stories of actual people in Darfur. I see where she's coming from, wanting to hear more, but at the same time, this is Daoud Hari's memoir, and that is what he had to share. I think hearing about how he was beaten mercilessly over and over is enough to give me an idea of what conditions are like all over Sudan.
This book is not sophisticated. English is not Hari's first language, and it shows. The book is probably at no more than an 8th grade reading level, if that, which is a sharp contrast to the subject matter. But Hari tells his story with brutal honesty. I could have lived without the random humor thrown in - but I guess that shows the side of Hari that enabled him to survive through some very difficult times.

Personally, I think this is an excellent introduction to the situation in Darfur, but not the place to stop. Read this and find out more and speak out.

Also reviewed at:
Leafing Through Life
Bookin' It
nothing of importance


Debi said...

Thanks for the wonderful review, Somer. Someone just offered to send me her copy of this one. I'm really looking forward to it, and yet I'm apprehensive as well.

Somer said...

There was only one scene that *really* got to me. Otherwise, the book is written in such a straightforward manner that it is not too shocking. If that makes any sense. I hope you enjoy it - enjoy's not quite the right word, maybe appreciate it is better.

Maw Books said...

I just finished this book last week and haven't reviewed it yet. I've been letting my thoughts settle because it was such a tremendous read. If you haven't read What is the What by Dave Eggers I would highly recommend it.