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Sofia Samatar

Somali-American professor, editor and writer

Sofia Samatar (born October 24, 1971) is a Somali-American educator, poet and writer.

QuotesEdit

A Stranger in Olondria (2013)Edit

All page numbers are from the trade paperback first edition published by Small Beer Press ISBN 978-1-931520-76-8
Won the 2014 World Fantasy Award and the 2014 British Fantasy Award, and was nominated for the 2014 Nebula Award.
  • “A book,” says Vandos of Ur-Amakir, “is a fortress, a place of weeping, the key to a desert, a river that has no bridge, a garden of spears.” Fanlewas the Wise, the great theologian of Avalei, writes that Kuidva, the God of Words, is “a taskmaster with a lead whip.” Tala of Yenith is said to have kept her books in an iron chest that could not be opened in her presence, else she would lie on the floor, shrieking. She wrote: “Within the pages there are fires, which can rise up, singe the hair, and make the eyelids sting.” Ravhathos called the life of the poet “the fair and fatal road, of which even the dust and stones are dear to my heart,” and cautioned that those who spend long hours engaged in reading or writing should not be spoken to for seven hours afterward. “For they have gone into the Pit, into which they descend on Slopes of Fire, but when they rise they climb on a Ladder of Stone.” Hothra of Ur-Brome said that his books were “dearer than father or mother,” a sentiment echoed by thousands of other Olondrians through the ages, such as Elathuid the Voyager, who explored the Nissian coast and wrote: “I sat down in the wilderness with my books, and wept for joy.” And the mystic Leiya Tevorova, that brave and unfathomable soul, years before she met her tragic death by water, wrote: “When they put me into the Cold, above the white Lake, in the Loathsome Tower, and when Winter came with its cruel, hard, fierce, dark, sharp and horrible Spirit, my only solace was in my Books, wherein I walked like a Child, or shone in the Dark like a Moth which has its back to a sparkling Fire.”
    • Chapter 3, “Doorways” (p. 19; the first sentence is echoed on p. 273)
  • The Feast of Birds is dedicated to Avalei, the Goddess of Love and Death, of whom my master had said: “Not all that is ancient is worthy of praise.”
    • Chapter 6, “The Feast of Birds” (p. 60)
  • Words are sublime, and in books we may commune with the dead. Beyond this there is nothing true, no voices we can hear.
    • Chapter 8, “The Tower of Myrrh” (p. 92)
  • The truth has its own virtue, which is separate from its content.
    • Chapter 17, “The House of the Horse, My Palace” (p. 248)
  • Someone tell me why my road
    is eternally strewn with ashes.
    • Chapter 20, “The Sound of the World” (p. 282)

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