Sleepwalking Land

Mia Couto

I love how this book describes a meandering journey that somehow always seems to stay in the same place as it progresses. Really, it’s two meandering journeys: in one, an old man and a young boy, refugees from Mozambique’s long civil war, seek refuge in a crashed and charred bus. While the duo never venture far from the bus, the landscape around them continually changes. In the other, one of the deceased passengers of that bus tells his story via the notebooks they found, which the boy reads to the man. While the writer of the notebooks describes ongoing traveling, he seems to keep finding the same people and places over and over wherever he goes. As both of these futile journeys progress, they begin to intertwine.

Overall it’s a pretty amazing narrative on the toll of war on every day life.

Do you weep for the present? Well, know that the days to come will be worse still. That’s why they made this war, to poison the womb of time, so that the present would give birth to monsters instead of hope … They have stolen so much from you that not even your dreams are your own, nothing of your land belongs to you, and even the sky and the seas will be the property of outsiders.