Maps takes place in Somalia in the 1970s and the 1980s. Askar the protagonist, is born in a small Somali village. His father died in the military fighting the Ethiopians, and his mother died in childhood, so he is raised by a village woman named Misra. As Askar progresses through his childhood and youth, he struggles to understand and find his place within the larger geopolitical struggles that affect Somalia. The novel explores themes of family, geopolitics, identity, maturation, and death.