Sometimes when you impulse-pick up the newest book by a famous author you have never tried before, it turns out to be a mistake because their latest book is not their best book, but you don’t know that, so what you think is, I don’t like this author. When maybe what you’ve just done is write off J. R. R. Tolkien because you didn’t like The Silmarillion.
I wasn’t, in short, wild about Hiding in Plain Sight. It’s about a woman named Bella who suddenly becomes guardian to her niece and nephew after their father, her beloved older brother Aar, is killed in a terrorist attack. She is fine with taking on this responsibility. The nephew and niece are also fine with it. For a while it seems like their irritating and irresponsible mother Valerie will not be fine with it, but in the end — spoiler alert — it turns out she is fine with it.
I have said this more snidely than the book deserves, as there’s something really nice about reading a book where everyone is trying their best. But when everyone is trying their best, you do also run the risk of being a bit boring, because conflict is the engine that drives a story. Hiding in Plain Sight can be a bit boring.
Oh, and here is why I am also an awful person for not liking this book: While Nuruddin Farah was in the process of writing it, his own sister was killed in a suicide bombing. This is the kind of life-reflecting-art that Diana Wynne Jones always talked about, magnified to the most hideous degree.
Assistance please! I feel very guilty for not liking Nuruddin Farah’s book more, and I would like you to tell me which book of his is the best book. I think this is like when my friend tried to read Shame without having read anything else by Salman Rushdie. Just a bad idea.