Friday, June 29, 2012

Book Review: Deadly Waters

On we plough with the nonfiction, and this time we head over to Somalia with Jay Bahadur in Deadly Waters. A very young Canadian journalist travels to Puntland, a semi-autonomous (though not recognized as such) region where piracy is rampant.

No one can deny that the writing of this book took amazing courage. Few places in the world right now are less dangerous for foreigners than Puntland, and yet he just picked up his things one morning and took off. His journey was remarkable and some of his comments insightful, but I can’t say I loved this book the way I loved many of the others that I have read so far.

I suppose I found the writing style a little dry and disjointed, and for the first time I was having difficulty following the names of the people in the book, who they were and what their story was. I felt that the delivery of the history of Somalia was fragmented and incomplete in parts, as if he was trying to give the bare minimum in background information so that he could get on with the story. Although I will not call him a master of words in weaving a nonfiction story that you can’t put down, I’m not going to knock the actual research and effort that was put into this book.

I suppose if Somali piracy is something that is of particular interest to you, how it started and what their life is like, but you don’t actually know anything about it, this is the book for you. I appreciate that he really tries to get to all sides of the story to find the truth, something that all journalists are supposed to do and yet sadly very few do anymore. If, on the other hand Somalia and piracy are not something that will pique your interest in their own right I would not reccommend this book, as it lacks the mastery of certain authors that make you love the subject no matter what it is.

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