The Booklocker

Horses Like the Wind and Other Stories of Africa
by Baker H. Morrow (Somalia 1966–69)
University Press of Colorado
2001
120 pages
$14.95

Horses Like the Wind and Other Stories of Africa by Baker Morrow is a book of nine stories set in Somalia just after its independence in the 1960s. Baker writes in his introduction of his time in Somalia, “A trickle of doctors, nurses, teachers, and lawyers appeared from half the countries in the world. Livestock exports boomed. For a time, it seemed that something novel and wonderful was about to take place in this fabled country renowned in ancient Egypt for its pungent frankincense and myrrh.”
     The stories are not about the Peace Corps, but rather they paint vivid (and quiet) portraits of the many different lives that intertwine along the Horn of Africa. A ruthless horse dealer comes up against the best tracker in the Somali army; transplanted Italian farmers look to a future of stark disintegration as they struggle to hold on to their lands and their families; gutsy American women attempt to establish lives of their own in the remote East African desert; and a beggar and an idealist meet in a chance encounter on the steps of a Mogadishu bank, with mind-numbing consequences.
     Baker Morrow is a very fine writer who lives now in New Mexico and makes his living as a landscape architect, but years ago he went to Africa and came home to write wonderfully about it.