There are at least a half-dozen ways you could read the English version of African Titanics, depending on how — and with what — you approach it:
The short novel, written by Eritrean novelist Abu Bakr Khaal (2008), and ably translated by Charis Bredon (2014), could be read as a “there but for the grace of God go I!” narrative. From this vantage, the book is about poor migrants who make their way up through desert and sea to start new, better lives in Europe. Or, for the reader interested in world events, it could be read as a “humanizing” tale that fleshes out news about nameless migrants who die at sea aboard overcrowded, under-maintained boats.
It could be a call-to-action that drives the activist reader to tear down militarized borders across the Mediterranean and beyond. Or it could be approached as a story about stories: a layering of folktale, myth, history, and anecdote from East and North Africa.
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