Available on JSTOR at: doi.org/10.2307/3334635

Abstract

Nuruddin Farah is a writer from Somali. We came into correspondence after the publication of his first novel in London From a Crooked Rib. Since then he has continued to write in many styles – poems, a play, a new novel to be called A Naked Needle from the Arabic proverb “The needle that stitches the clothes of people remains naked itself.” He continues to experiment with “mind tricks” and wrote this short story for African Arts. “I hope you like it,” he wrote “because if you don't like it, I'll be disappointed as I re-touched on it keeping your magazine in mind.” “Of Silence, of Noise” is an extraordinary piece of work. Resisting the temptation to attempt even minimal editing, we have allowed its curious and casually idiomatic style to stand as the writer intended it, with its evocative and unexpected vocabulary: the woman “niddle-noddled her head”; the man “beat my heels on the floor like an angry cow.” There is a paradoxical mixture of artifice and colloquial simplicity in this language. He writes, “Truth is strange and bitter.” This dictum becomes the motive for his haunting and confident narrative.