Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Yohannes Ishi

Yohannes Ishi –by Nabse Bamato

138 pages /410 KB
3 Stars

This book is, indeed, a light read, and somewhat entertaining. I was captivated enough to read it through to the end, but when I closed the book, I felt it lacked.

It was obvious the author loves Ethiopia, a country I would love to visit sometime. However, I had no sense of Addis Ababa. I would have loved to have seen more of the contrasts between wet/gray sea-level London and dry/sunny mountain-high Addis Ababa. Not just the climate, but the smells, the noise, the streets, the domiciles. Yohannes didn't travel just across the street; he traveled to a different world and even, to a degree, a different time.

I was confused by the Prologue. As I understand it, a Prologue is used to set the story in time and place, perhaps a bit of backstory. In this case, it is not a prologue but an excerpt from a middle chapter. It was confusing. And unnecessary.

I would have liked to have seen him wrestle a bit with the promise his mother made to the Sister at the orphanage that he would grow up to be a doctor, return, and help the people. How did he feel about having his life planned out by his parents? Did he feel guilty when he chose a different path?

Yohannes Ishi seems to just go with the flow through much of his life, seldom taking a stand, or maybe not needing to, but I felt he lacked the backbone to follow through on his final decision. If someone came along and made him a different and perceived better offer, he'd go.

I do recommend this book, even though I am giving it only 3 stars. It is interesting; it gives a bit of an insight into another culture with which I am not familiar. I would LOVE to see the Author do some rewriting to bring in some tension, comparisons, sights, smells, etc. as mentioned above. I would gladly read it again, if the writer did some rework, and I'm confident I would give it a higher rating. Perhaps the author should consider making this a faux memoir? Perhaps written in first person it would then have more immediacy.

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