Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 229
Secrets is a novel that takes place in Mogadishu, Somalia, in the early 1990s on the eve of the country's civil war. Kalaman is a successful businessman who has a girlfriend but does not wish to marry and have a child with her, much to the chagrin of his mother, Damac. Another character named Sholoongo is a childhood friend of Kalaman, and she is shrouded in mystery. The two explored their sexuality together as children, and he considered her a mentor and confidant while growing up.
Twenty-five years later, Sholoongo returns to Mogadishu from America and visits Kalaman in his home, desiring a child with him. While she spent time in America, she became a kind of shapeshifter and occult practitioner. Unable to handle the pressure from Sholoongo and his girlfriend, Kalaman retreats to his grandfather's farm for solace and guidance.
Kalaman and Sholoongo go through a series of tense moments as they unravel family secrets. He questions his name and doubts his parentage, but Sholoongo's origins are more mysterious, as she was supposedly raised by lions.
Further, Kalaman's mother believes that Sholoongo has bewitched her son in some fashion, and people in Kalaman's village also believe she is a witch. Kalaman's grandfather, Nonno, reveals certain family secrets that involve Sholoongo and interweaves the family's tragic past with Somalia's political tensions. The story ends before the civil war begins.
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