By Shayna Orens
Columbia Daily Spectator
In Somali, “guban” means “burnt.” In Columbia Ph.D. candidate and teaching fellow Abdi Latif Ega’s new novel, “Guban,” the word takes on multiple connotations. Literally, the word refers to the volcanic region of northwestern Somalia, where the mountains appear physically burnt. But “guban” also resonates metaphorically throughout the work. Through his portrayal of Somalia between the 1960s and 1991, prior to its collapse, Ega explores what “guban” means for the people who have to “take the fire” of power imbalance, postcolonial modernization, Westernization, and proxy warfare.
“Guban” is a book that should be read—not…