Less Than What You Once Were (Paperback)
Less Than What You Once Were begins in a pivotal moment for the speaker-during the 2008 "Battle of N'Djamena" in Chad's capital. This destabilizing experience-in which the speaker's home is broken into-results in the family embarking on a months-long departure from the place, and the narrative begins to cycle through childhood memories, from the first night when Brown lands at N'Djamena's airport as an eight-year-old boy to the failed attempt at bird hunting with a slingshot. These centering memories soon give way to stories of displacement as a young adult and, much later, a return to the country of his youth. This fragmented memoir, told in a similar, episodic style to Claudia Rankine's Citizen, is both a coming-of-age story and also a story of exile, ending in a state of dislocated adulthood, the speaker longing for a return to a childhood home that can't be accessed.