’The Revelation’ [book review]

Title: The Revelation Author: Kibrom Gebremedhin Publisher: CODE-Ethiopia

Awards: 2013 Burt Award for African Literature – 3rd place

124 pp

Edition: Paperback

The Revelation is Kibrom Gebremedhin’s first book, but it might as well have been his second or third because in this short novel, his lack of experience is well overcome. Writing a book for young readers (aged 12-18) of Ethiopia in English is a feat. Challenges include English being a second language, the heterogeneous composition of the group across Ethiopia and across different socio-economic backgrounds and knowing the issues that resonate with this age group in order to capture their interest. The Revelation successfully solves these challenges and narrates the story of Blen and Alula as a pair, as well as the individual journeys they take. Blen is a serious, freshman student at Addis Ababa University and Alula, a withdrawn bookworm, is equally serious about learning, but does not think ‘formal institutions’ are the best place to get it. Blen’s family has a lot of mysteries that keep appearing in the novel until the very last page, whereas Alula lives alone. The reclusive Alula falls in love with Blen and she also comes to feel the same for him. And this undeclared love becomes fertile ground for a mischief by Eden and Beza, Blen’s two roommates who view traveling to the US (New York city in particular) as the answer to their lives and for which they have received fierce criticism from Blen. The ups and downs that ensue grip the young reader’s attention until it finds an unforeseeable resolution in the end. This story of love, ideology, family and friendship runs for 124 pages all the while managing to hold the reader’s attention. Events flow nicely in the story alternating between the different aspects of a character’s life. A possible criticism to the book is at its ending. The story ends in a sudden twist which feels like it was made so by the author who wanted to write an unpredictable ending. But the effect is a hard-to-accept ending which will keep the reader thinking long after they have finished reading and put down the book. But then again, this is a quality of good books, that they linger in your mind. The Revelation can be found in many secondary school libraries as well as in Mega book stores.

Source : The Reporter

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