'God created Woman from a crooked rib; and any one who trieth to straighten it, breaketh it.'
Ebla, an orphan of eighteen, runs away from her nomadic encampment in rural Somali when she discovers that her grandfather has promised her marriage to an older man. But even after her escape to Mogadishu, she finds herself as powerless and dependent on men as she was in the bush.
As she is propelled through servitude, marriage, poverty and violence, Ebla has to fight to retain her identity in a world where women are "sold like cattle".
Written with complete conviction from a woman's viewpoint, Nuruddin Farah's spare, shocking first novel savagely attacks the traditional values of his people yet is also a haunting celebration of the unbroken human spirit.