Eden Book Club: The Last Nomad Discussion
Shugri Said Salh’s The Last Nomad is intense and piercing. It’s the kind of book that leaves you reeling, wondering, yearning to know more. Salh takes the ambiguous yet powerful phrase “the last nomad” and fleshes it out, slowly expounding on her journey, her culture, her ancestry, her values, her family, her past. She digs into the complexities of her childhood and doesn’t shy away from the hardships.
There were moments where I felt my throat dry, my hands clench, my eyes widen. The Last Nomad doesn’t demand a reaction, but so many moments and stories (this is a book of stories woven together after all) warranted a display of emotions.
Feel free to rant or rave about The Last Nomad in the comments below. I look forward to hearing (and responding to) your thoughts!
P.S. I apologize for the delayed book club post this month (my personal life has been a bit crazy lately). I know this doesn’t make up for it, but I’ll leave the discussion open through March so y’all still have plenty of time to express your opinions.
Book Club Discussion Guidelines
Discussion posts (like this one) will have a series of questions as starting points. But honestly, you can talk about whatever you want regarding the books. You don’t have to answer all (or any) of the questions. I’d still love to hear your thoughts!
You can join in regardless of whether you’ve read, not read, or DNF’d the book! I understand that not everyone has the time to read or finish the book so I try to include a general discussion question as well to make the discussions more inclusive.
The Last Nomad Discussion Questions
- What were your impressions of nomadic life before reading The Last Nomad? How were they similar or different to the experiences Salh describes?
- What does Salh mean when she calls herself the last nomad?
- What do you think compelled Salh to share her story?
- “Stories have always created understanding and connection between humans. In this era of great misunderstanding, I wish to help rein us back in to our shared humanity. The beauty of my culture was imprinted on me when I was very young, and I cherish it so deeply that my desire to share it only grows. Like an archeologist desperately excavating a forgotten world, I want to bring the details of my nomadic upbringing to life before it is lost forever.” (pg. 3) What role does storytelling play in this memoir? How do you feel about sharing stories?
- How did family lineage and clans affect Salh’s life in the desert, in Somalia, and post-Somalia?
- How did you feel while reading this book? Did certain stories surprise you?
- How do you feel about the way Salh characterizes her family?
- Which of the Somali proverbs mentioned in the book stood out to you the most?
- “Survival is woven into the fabric of who I am. I never asked, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ but rather, ‘How can I overcome this situation?’ It is easy to let past trauma or injustice rule your life forever, but I want to be free.” (pg. 290) What did you learn from Salh’s journey? Did it change or affect your perspective in any way?
- How does The Last Nomad compare to other travel memoirs you have read?
March 2023 Book Club Pick
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Of course, these are just starter questions. There are no right or wrong answers. Feel 100% free to discuss anything regarding the book (or otherwise). I’ll be jumping in and responding as well!
Edith JenningsFebruary 27, 2023 at 6:25 AM
I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this book was great. I think it has the potential to be a movie adaptation as well like Tracks and From Scratch.
MayaFebruary 27, 2023 at 4:45 PM
The Last Nomad was intense. There’s so much Shugri Said Salh goes through and she explains everything in a way that’s direct, neutral, and vulnerable. There were parts I found difficult to read and didn’t want to go through. I was surprised by a lot of the stories she shared and disappointed by how little I knew about what was going on in the world during the time period she talked about. I enjoyed the writing of this book. Like many other travel memoirs it felt narrative driven and as a result read as quickly as a fiction book. This was a page turner for me for sure!
DemarcusFebruary 28, 2023 at 11:40 AM
Intense is the right word. What Shugri went through is straight up traumatizing. I like how she began with her nomadic life and I thought this book was going to romanticize it but nope she just rips that away from us just like how she was ripped from that environment. Difficult to read? Absolutely. Genetic mutilation is not something I expected to read about. I think the graphic warning disclaimer came too late in that chapter. There was also no clear indicator of where the graphic content ended. One of the most unique travel memoirs I have ever read. I am glad she shared her experiences.