Little Siberia by Johnny Steinberg
Jonathan Ball publishers, 2011
Soft cover, 286 pages
Most people know one another; if not by name, then by face. And yet neighbours do not ask one another what they did in Liberia, for the question is considered an accusation. Many people here fled Liberia's civil war, a conflict that claimed one in fourteen Liberians. The question of who's is responsible is a bitter one.
Jacob Massaquoi arrived on Park Hill Avenue in 2002 limping heavily. Before he had been there a week, a hundred stories abound by his injury. By this time Rufus Arkoi was the acknowledged leader of New York's Librarians, a man who had sat out the war in America,but who harboured hopes of one day returning home to run for president.
Within a year the two men were locked in a conflict that threatened to consume the community. The suspicions and accusations the residents had bottled up for years exploded at once. To observe it appeared that this enclave of exiles was frozen at the time of their flight, restarting a war that had ended back home.