Kid Moses, by Mark Thornton (October 2015)
Big things sometimes come in very small packages. Mark Thornton's "Kid Moses" is a fascinating, moving, damning look at childhood poverty and homelessness in modern Africa. In a slim 120 page novel, we follow a few years in the life of pre-adolescent Moses, who lives on the streets of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Through him we meet kind strangers and evil strangers, other homeless streetkids, even some hunter-gatherers who live as their ancestors must have hundreds of years ago. It is a bleak look at how society has forgotten these children, and also how even the kindness of a few people is not enough to drag their lives back on track (if they ever were). Thornton's writing is beautiful, spare and haunting. For a first-time novelist, he seems adept at putting us in someone else's shoes. And the story he has to tell needs to be heard. As a bookseller, I will do my best to project it.