Dust author Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor review Ù 3


Dust author Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

review Dust author Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

Long left untouched and unleashed a series of unexpected events Odidi and Ajany’s mercurial mother flees in a fit of rage; a young Englishman arrives at the Ogandas’ house seeking his missing father; a hardened policeman who has borne witness to unspeakable acts reopens a cold case; and an all seeing Trader with a murky identity plots an overdue revenge In scenes stretching from the violent upheaval of contemporar This left me breathless Holy Sht I need to gather my thoughts but it was an amazing reading experience In the past I have struggled to connect with Kenyan Literature and it didn't help that my English teacher wasn't as enthusiastic about it either Majority of the books I came across were predominately politically driven and that just didn't suite my contemporary taste So I took upon myself to try out Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo crossing my fingers that this might be the book that finally reignites my interest in Kenyan Lit I loved itFollowing The Oganda family after the son Odidi gets gun downed in the streets of Nairobi we see the reputation of this vile action through the family's grief memories which opens the door to a dark past pelted with generational secrets that still haunt them in the present At the same time a young Englishman arrives at the Ogandas’ house seeking his missing father; a hardened policeman who has borne witness to unspeakable acts reopens a cold case and an all seeing Trader with a murky identity plots an overdue revenge In scenes stretching from the violent upheaval of contemporary Kenya back through a shocking political assassination in 1969 and the Mau Mau uprisings against British colonial rule in the 1950s we come to learn the secrets held by this parched landscape buried deep within the shared past of the family and of a conflicted nationThe lyrical poetic narrative style is so cinematic intertwined with so much emotion that you will fill every character's pain happiness without being directly told The first couple of pages might seem confusing but give it time to get used to the flow of the writing and you won't stop reading The politics doesn't overpower the story but lingers in the background which balances the narrative putting emphasis on the family saga Lush description of the beautiful Kenyan Landscapes and the local street life are brought to life through the characters eyes as well as the local slang and deep Kenyan proverbs make the experience feel authentic It has its dark moments you will weep at the author explores the injustices that take place through the hands of corrupt leaders and the poor state of living but you will also experience the local everyday life of a Kenyan Using the public transport matatus cuisine etc I highly recommend you give it a try

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From a breathtaking new voice a novel about a splintered family in Kenya a story of power and deceit unreuited love survival and sacrifice Odidi Oganda running for his life is gunned down in the streets of Nairobi His grief stricken sister Ajany just returned from Brazil and their father bring his body back to their crumbling home in the Kenyan drylands seeking some comfort and peace But the murder has stirred memories This winter offers an unusually rich bounty of novels about Africa “Radiance of Tomorrow” Ishmael Beah’s gracious story of rebuilding a village in Sierra Leone was just the beginning Next week Susan Minot will publish “Thirty Girls” which is about a Ugandan teenager kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army; next month we’ll get Teju Cole’s “Every Day Is for the Thief” which focuses on a Ni­ger­ian American who returns to Lagos And now we have an astonishing novel from Kenyan writer Yvonne Adhiambo OwuorTantalizing excerpts of “Dust” appeared earlier in a couple of literary journals but few American readers have heard of this 45 year old author before now That must change Owuor demonstrates extraordinary talent and range in these pages Her style is alternately impressionistic and harsh incantatory and propulsive One moment she keeps us trapped within the bloodied walls of a torture cell; in the next her poetic voice soars over sun baked plains She can clear the gloom with passages of Dickensian comedy or tender romance but most of her novel takes places in “haunted silences” “Dust” moves between the lamentation of a single family and the corruption of national politics swirling around one young man’s death to create a vortex of grief that draws in generations of deceit and Kenya’s tumultuous modern historyThe story opens in 2007 with a panicked chase through the streets of Nairobi An athletic young man named Odidi hurls an AK 47 aside and runs from a howling mob His anxious thoughts of escape mingle with snatches of memory and dialogue a hallucinatory seuence of violent and comic moments that we won’t fully comprehend for than 300 pages Then suddenly the narrative shatters into short phrases“What’s happening to me“A voice says ‘Close your eyes boy Go to sleep’“Odidi coughs three times“Red bubbles spatter“The voice says ‘I’m here’“Odidi breathes in“Doesn’t breathe out“Becomes still”The rest of the novel records the shock waves from Odidi’s death that vibrate through his family scrambling his mother’s sanity and dislodging long concealed secrets “Sorrow is a universe” Owuor writes and “Dust” is a sweeping exploration of that vast expanse of darkness Odidi’s parents had invested all their hopes in their handsome only son who dazzled his engineering professors and seemed destined for wealth and power in a country hurtling into the modern age How all his talent and idealism came to seep out through bullet holes as he lay on a busy Nairobi street is only one of many mysteries explored in this engrossing storyOdidi’s father — “old world dapper in a slightly shabby 1970s coat and 1950s brown leather fedora” — never speaks of his early incarnations as a thief gunrunner rebel and patriot but digging a grave for his son unearths a host of buried alliances and debts And the novel’s plot turns on the coincidental arrival of a young Englishman seeking information about his own father who once had great hopes for the British colony These and other story lines involving corrupt officers idealistic fighters abandoned lovers and angry ghosts consort in a potent novel that freuently jumps into the past as Odidi’s coffin bakes in the sunHis sister Ajany serves as the story’s moral core An artist who had move

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Y Kenya back through a shocking political assassination in 1969 and the Mau Mau uprisings against British colonial rule in the 1950s we come to learn the secrets held by this parched landscape buried deep within the shared past of the family and of a conflicted nation Here is a spellbinding novel about a brother and sister who have lost their way; about how myths come to pass history is written and war stains us foreve This book is a hard read A slog even Because of the themes it deals with And the writing style Choppy Fragmented in parts There's a good story But you will need patience And that's my attempt at recreating some of the prose in this book The prologue is what really sets the stage for this story A man is running chased by a mob as we are treated to flashbacks from his life it's fast paced and you can't help wanting to know why was he killed Who is he And what led up to all this After that I felt like the story kind of fell of a cliff WheeeAnd it's because of the way it's written Single words or very short sentences punctuated by periods Beautiful descriptions of people and places but also hard to follow Smoke and mirrorseer Smoke and dust in this case may make for an added sense of mystery but it's also frustrating I almost gave up This is my main criticism of this book Most of those who throw in the towel will do so in the first 3 or 4 chapters A writer should be able to write as they please but they also have a job to do draw the reader in in the first few chapters So they are invested for the long haulThis book covers alot of ground from Colonial Kenya to the turbulent period surrounding the Dec 2007 early 2008 election period Odidi the running man is a main character as is his family sister Ajany father Nyipir and mother Akai It helps to be familiar with Kenyan history if you aren't you might want to look up some things such as the MauMau the Emergency period Historical figures both recent and old Jomo Kenyatta Pio Gama Pinto Tom Mboya Daniel Moi Oginga Odinga Raila Odinga Mwai Kibaki etc Owuor dredges up forgotten stories and buried memories and she uses each of the characters to tell these stories All this is set to the almost mystical backdrop of the Northern Kenya landscape Coloured in vivid reds and oranges not just in words but literally by Ajany who is uite the consummate artist She comes home after a long absence and is confronted by the riddle of a brother who has been killed in mysterious circumstances A heartbroken father and a mother who uite simply loses it She walks through Nairobi and the arid landscapes around Wuoth Ogik where the family lives There is alot of walking in this book ALOT Another reviewer points this out and as I read through it's something that definitely stands out Parts of Northern Kenya are very remote so it's no surprise but still this a detail that stood out The arrival of Isaiah Bolton from England seems to upend the lives of everyone in the Oganda family He too is looking for answers And for the next 400 or so pages through Ajany and Isaiah's uestions all that has been buried is dredged up and laid bare The injustices pain and trauma of the Colonial era How people who might have lived as brothers betrayed each other for thirty pieces of silver or something like that The disenchantment that followed Independence in 1963 Aside Ngugi wa Thiong'o's book A Grain of Wheat revolves around some of this The cancer of corruption that seems to grow burrowing deep into every facet of society eventually suffocating lives You will meet characters like the Trader Ali Dida Hada and Petrus who have turned this into an art form And the lies and secrets that parents keep from their children and that wives and husbands keep from each other The middle

  • Hardcover
  • 369
  • Dust author Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
  • Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
  • English
  • 04 January 2017
  • 9780307961204

About the Author: Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor born 1968 is a Kenyan writer who was named Woman of the Year by Eve Magazine in Kenya in 2004 for her contribution to the country's literature and arts She won the 2003 Caine Prize for African Writing for her story Weight of Whispers which considers an aristocratic Rwandan refugee in Kenya The story was originally published in Kwani the Kenyan literary magazine se


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