MY FRIEND MATT AND HENA THE WHORE by Adam Zameenzad

MY FRIEND MATT AND HENA THE WHORE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Also from Zameenzad (see above): a well-meaning, often mystical story of children trying to survive in war-torn Africa--a story with special resonances considering the situation in Somalia but one that makes more for inspiration than literature. When Matt--a charismatic boy who's been converted to Christianity and who ``sees the pathways of the stars''--suggests that friends Golam, Hena, and the narrator bunk school and go to Gonta to see the famous Spirit Dance, the four embark on an adventure that soon becomes a dangerous odyssey. As they make their way through the forest, they stumble upon a guerrilla band that's captured a rival leader they are about to kill. The children rescue the prisoner, escape, and make it to Gonta, where they watch the dancing as well as make new friends--who will come in handy later as the situation in their country, devastated by drought and racked by civil war, deteriorates. Back home, seeing their village and families decimated by starvation, the children hope to find work in the big city and courageously set off again on another hazardous journey--but they are no longer the same innocents: Golam is haunted by his mother's madness and recent death, and Hena, whose father has lost all he had, is determined to become rich whatever the cost. They survive encounters with various armed groups and reach the city, but find life there even worse than back home--and far more dangerous. Hena deliberately becomes a rich man's whore, and the other three struggle to survive, only to be injured badly in a bombing raid on a refugee camp. They continue the journey, but their fate is inevitable. The friends and their families are reunited at last in the great spirit world beyond. Much powerful writing, and the events described have all too many parallels, but cumulatively more homily than novel.

Pub Date: April 13th, 1993
ISBN: 0-14-013163-9
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Penguin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1993