Ayan spends her days dreaming of being a doctor, but education is limited for a girl living in rural Somalia. Born into a nomadic family that raises goats and camels, Ayan longs to live in the city—Mogadishu—where she can fulfill her ambitions. With her grandmother's help, Ayan eventually travels to Mogadishu to live with her uncle and his family, and she attends school. But the garden wall surrounding her uncle's beautiful home cannot protect her forever, and the civil war soon appears at their doorstep. Ayan is forced to set out on a harrowing journey across the country as she seeks refuge. Through terrifying adventures and moments of touching generosity, Ayan arrives in Kenya, where she finds work as a maid, restarts her education, and discovers a love that alters the course of her life. Ultimately, she resettles in Minnesota, where she pursues her dream of being a doctor-now with all the challenges of a new life in a new land.
Ayan, of the Lucky is an exquisite novel about the emotional turmoil of loss and refuge, the powerful bonds of family and love, and the bright promise of a young woman's dream.
Fadumo Yusuf (better known by her nickname, Derbi) is a Somali American author, engineer, and cultural-identity advocate. She was born in the Somali region of Ethiopia to Somali parents and immigrated with her family to Minneapolis, Minnesota, when she was a teenager. Ayan, of the Lucky is her first novel.
"Fadumo Yusuf has brought to us a remarkable story that is at once breathtaking, hope-inducing, and heartbreaking. She fuses an intimate knowledge of rural Somalia with the Somali-American experience to create a sweeping novel that will move you from anger to laughter within a single passage. We become invested in Ayan's journey from the very beginning and can see ourselves in her, no matter our background. That, to me, is the mark of a gifted storyteller who can unite entire communities in a time of unparalleled division. This book will change how you see your place in the world." - Said Shaiye, Writer
"Ayan's story is invaluable to me, a Somali born in the States. It is more than a story of a civil war. It is also a story of love, laughter, tradition, and resilience that brings together generations of Somali diaspora. This brilliant novel filled me with hope and kept me on edge." - Asma Ahmed, Somali-American Engineer
"In Ayan, of the Lucky, Fadumo has illuminated and addressed the pile of pain that Somalis have been through in the last thirty years or so, while articulating the uplifting layers of our commitment to care for one another. She has crafted a story that represents the resilient nature of Somalis." - Ahmed Ismail Yusuf, author of the Lion’s Binding Oath and Other Stories