“North of Dawn” is a piercing novel of the Somali diaspora

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Nuruddin Farah examines what binds and divides families and communitie

North of Dawn. By Nuruddin Farah. Riverhead Books; 384 pages; $27.

Over a dozen novels and almost five decades, the Somali writer Nuruddin Farah has chronicled the effects on ordinary lives of his country’s upheavals. Some of his characters stay put amid the turmoil; others return from exile and try to fit in, remain afloat and make sense of the chaos around them. “Hiding in Plain Sight”, published in 2014, took a different tack, focusing on a Somali woman who leaves Italy, her adopted home, to care for the children of her murdered half-brother in Kenya. Now, in “North of Dawn”, Mr Farah charts the fortunes of a Somali family who leave Kenya for Europe.