Friday, March 07, 2008

14. The Translator

by Daoud Hari

Subtitled “A Tribesman’s Memoir of Darfur,” this was an advanced reader’s edition I received through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer’s program. This was a short book (200 pages), but not an easy read. I did not know much about Darfur before starting to read it, but I knew enough to be apprehensive about the subject matter. The appendix, “A Darfur Primer,” would have been better as a preface, along with some maps to put the story’s locations in context.

I found the part of the book where Hari described the impact of Darfur’s genocide on his own family and village to be stronger than the parts about his captures and eventual releases particularly while serving as an interpreter for reporters and international investigators of the genocide.

I wanted to like this book and rate it highly because of its important subject, but I can’t – it’s just not well written. The storyline is confusing, and too much of the book is about Hari’s captivity and not enough about the situation in Darfur. Despite having two co-writers, the book would have benefited from judicious editing.

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