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This is a very disturbing book in many ways, as the realities of life as an asylum seeker are presented in very graphic terms. Perhaps one of the most shocking examples of difficult and disturbing content is the very opening scene, when Sade, the protagonist of this novel, rushes out of her house in Nigeria to witness her mother dying on the floor, having been shot. Note how this is described:
Ppa is kneeling in the driveway, Mama partly curled up against him. One bare leg stretches out in front of her. His strong hands grip her, trying to halt the growing scarlet monster. But it has already spread down her bright white nurse's uniform. It stains the earth around them.
The description of the blood using the metaphor of "the growing scarlet monster" clearly presents this as a very shocking and vivid snapshot, which is very disturbing. However, apart from the many shocking scenes, another very important example of difficult and disturbing content is the way that Sade learns about "the other side of truth." Her father's mantra, "The truth is the truth. How can I write what is untrue?", is shown to have directly led to her mother's death, and thus it is that she shuns the truth when she reaches London, even though this ironically does not help her father's claim for asylum when he finally reaches the UK. The text places Sade and the reader in a world where it is very difficult to work out what is the right and moral thing to do, as the act of telling the truth, as courageous as it might be, is shown to endanger not just the truth teller but also those who are closest to them. This is a reality that Sade has to wrestle with in the text.
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