Excerpt from A Man of Good Hope by Jonny Steinberg, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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A Man of Good Hope

by Jonny Steinberg

A Man of Good Hope by Jonny Steinberg X
A Man of Good Hope by Jonny Steinberg
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2015, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 2015, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte
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Asad was six when he started at the madrassa. Learning both books of the Koran was meant to take another six years. He should have begun learning other subjects when he was twelve, like the Latin alphabet so that he could write Somali, then geography, history, and mathematics.

On the morning he describes the madrassa, I drive away from Blikkiesdorp thinking of what he has said, and I see his mother and the learning of the Koran as opposite poles of his childhood. His time with her was what he lived for, it seems, while his time at school was so cold and drab. Then I blink and think again, and now I see that mother and madrassa share something important. They were the two pieces of Mogadishu Asad took with him into exile. His mother he felt inside him all the time. As for the learning of the Koran: wherever he went, no matter how far or how strange, somebody was always starting a madrassa. Wherever he found himself, the Holy Book would open in front of him until he knew the whole thing by heart, as he does now, and as do the one hundred sixty or so Somali souls who bed down each night in Blikkiesdorp, each of them many years from home.

Excerpted from A Man of Good Hope by Jonny Steinberg. Copyright © 2015 by Jonny Steinberg. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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