Blood In The Sun Trilogy
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BLOOD IN THE SUN TRILOGYVerbal artistry is a rare phenomenon. Seldom does one see the coming together of various genres of writing ? short story, novel, play, poetry -in a single piece of work. Nuruddin Farah achieves this feat with a brilliance and freshness that is unparalleled in the contemporary literary corpus. His is an art that entails exquisite incorporation of the African oral tradition, something that finds expression in the dreams and thoughts of the characters in the novels. The words incorporate the music of a shamanic recital. Indeed, Nuruddin Farah could represent a shaman who is a Somali, but who is also a spokesperson for the human race that is united in life and death. Farah gives true meaning to T.S.Eliot?s verses from ?Burnt Norton? from ?Four Quartets ?:Time present and Time pastAre both perhaps present in time future?And time future contained in time past.If all time is eternally presentAll time is unredeemable. (1942, 71)Farah?s works signify the continuation of a tradition that is distinctly African, but they simultaneously focus on the Somali present and entail the vision of a holistic future. The temporal element is an important factor in all his works, as in the works of William Faulkner whose narrative also sways between past, present, and future. Time and memory as salient features of his narrative put him in the same pedestal as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who saw himself as the successor of Faulkner, whose arrival in the literary world Faulkner predicted during his 1949 Nobel Acceptance Speech. Farah can be seen as Marquez?s successor even if he has not won the Nobel Prize (yet). Nuruddin Farah (b.1945) is a Somali novelist. Farah comes from a nomadic tradition and his studies and employments have been nomadic on a global scale. The TRILOGY is one of Farah?s most artistically mature and complex works.Though Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship,his first trilogy,was well received in a number of countries, his most famous novel cemented Farah?s reputation, Maps (1986), the first novel in the Blood in the SUN trilogy. Maps, set during the Ogaden conflict of 1977, explores the questions of cultural identity in a postcolonial world. Farah followed the novel with Gifts (1993) and Secrets (1998). Maps and Secrets take on more temporal dimensions than does Gifts. Gifts is more rooted in the contemporary problems of Duniya, the protagonist, Somalia and Third ? World nations on a broader scale. Where the first trilogy carried a common theme, that of dictatorship - the various causes and consequences of dictatorship - the second one did not seem to display any overtly common thematic element, at least not when the first two installments were published. With the publication of the third book, the unity of the series as a trilogy was recognized.To read into the title of the trilogy, Blood in the sun, blood, in the first instance, is a metaphor for violence. violence is indeed a recurrent element in the three novels. In Maps, direct violence is encountered when Misra is brutally murdered. Gifts displays violence of a more subtle kind, but more powerful and long ? lasting, nonetheless. Gifts in the form of foreign aids that are unasked for hurt the pride of a nation, its peoples. In Secrets, Kalaman is the child of a gang rape, which is one of the most gruesome forms of violence. BLOOD is present in the sun. Sun is the most observed and most revered heavenly body for the inhabitants of this planet. It signifies the insurance of a cycle, of day and night, of the seasons. A sun that contains blood, thus, may mean the regular, prolonged occurrence of violence. Blood and sun are both life ? giving factors, sun being the primordial factor. Blood is a carrier of life as the supplier to oxygen to the lungs and limbs, as well as the mode of transference of genes. If sun is an abstract concept,then blood is the material manifestation of that idea. Blood also signifies family, relationships, and something that dominant Farah?s fiction. Eldridge writes: notion of a family based on something more than blood or semen. (WLT, 771) This aspect of his fiction finds fulfillment in the relationship of Askar and Misra in Maps, Duniya and her family with the unnamed orphan baby in Gifts, and in Kalaman?s relationship with his ?parents? and his ?grandfather? Nonno in Secrets. None of them are related by blood. If blood were to stand for relationships, with or without a biological connection, then the trilogy is about those relationships under the life ? giving force of the sun. So blood takes on the dual meaning of life and death, and Farah is the artist who reconciles these opposites.