Despite her family’s threat to disown her, Idil, a young Somali woman, rejects her high Bliss status to marry Sidow, a poor Boon man. Her decision transforms her life, forcing her to face harsh and sometimes even deadly consequences for her defiance of a strict tribal hierarchy. Set in the fifteen-year period before Somalia’s 1991 Civil War, Idil’s journey is almost too hard to bear at times. Her determination to follow her heart and to pursue love over family and convention is a story that has been told across time and across cultures.
Kusow’s fully immersive second novel cracks open the life of a privileged young Somali girl as she realizes, with growing disbelief, that her life is not one of free choice but one restrained by tribe, class, gender, violence, and scandal.... Set against the backdrop of a looming civil war, Idil’s story implores readers to question what matters most in this short life: love, security, acceptance, equality, or peace.
At turns harrowing, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful... Though geographically distinct, in Tale of a Boon’s Wife Kusow explores terrain similar to Mohsin Hamid's Exit West: the way a city or community teeters on a precipice for a time before descending into chaos and the way young lovers can go from thinking about their future together to thinking about basic security and survival in a matter of weeks, if not days... Kusow contributes a strong story to the body of contemporary literature giving voice to the lives of immigrants and refugees.
Fartumo Kusow’s debut English novel understands the consequences of thinking freely in a space where doing so could result in death. The sorrow, anger, and shame experienced by Kusow’s characters creates a haunting narrative of what it means to be selfish and selfless in a society that heavily condemns the unravelling of convention.