My main problem with this book isn’t the content. I’m not sure what the author intended, but my issue with his work may have nothing to do with him at all, really. It’s the categorization. This is being advertised as an adult fiction. It is not. At least with the audiobook, this is firmly in the juvenile range for me.
The premise of the story is interesting, if a bit juvenile. Our protagonist, Dhikilo, wakes up one morning and the letter “D” is gone. Completely. No one says it, they just skip over the letter, and it’s also missing from signage and books and things. So, as can be expected, Dhikilo ends up going on an adventure to find out what happened to the missing “D”s. (In the audiobook, the reader takes care of the missing letter, and you can basically understand what’s being said. It may be more difficult to read the passages without the “D” which is the only justification I can find for this being an adult novel. There is certainly no content that would not pass as juvenile.)
Now, I listened to the audiobook, so I didn’t know how “Dhikilo” was spelled. People pronounce her name, in this new alternate reality, as “Ikilo.” So I suppose it’s the sound of the letter “D” that went missing, because wouldn’t the silent “H” in her name be in front now? Or I guess her “H” remained silent.
There are points in the book that they emphasize that don’t really make sense to me. Dhikilo is supposed to be from Somaliland, not to be confused with Somalia. Up until the moment I looked up the spelling to write this, I thought it was a fictional country. But no, Somaliland is an actual sovereign state. The emphasis placed on it, though, doesn’t make sense to me. Yes, it’s interesting and all, and a lot of people don’t know about it, but it doesn’t actually play a significant role in the story, other than having to be explained constantly by Dhikilo.
The ending is also a bit unsatisfactory to me. Dhikilo claims the problem is over, but she really has no proof of that being a permanent state. And the book just sort of, ends. There are loose ends everywhere and many questions remain unanswered.
Maybe it’s all supposed to be commentary about society or something like that and I just missed it. But miss it I did. I was obviously not the intended audience for this, but I’m not really sure who is.