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Dust, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor.

July 29, 2015

Dust, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor.  Vintage (2014), 384 pages.

AFRICAN READING CHALLENGE

5 stars   MY FAVORITES

An amazing novel by a Kenyon woman about her country and her people, about their grief and their regrets.

Yvonne Adhiambo is a talented and innovative writer telling stories about her homeland and the violence it has suffered. She writes in compelling and complex prose that touches on universal themes. Her descriptions are rich and full, often including unexpected words that push readers to reconsider what we thought we knew. She reveals the contradictions within her characters with sharp insight. This is simply among the best written books I have read this year. Numerous reviews in major publications share my high option of her book.

Dust is set in Kenya and works on several levels.  A young man is killed in Nairobi. His stoic father and worshiping sister bring his body back to his home village where others share in their grief.   They not only grieve for the young man but for their country and for their own hopes and dreams.   In flashbacks they relive their own earlier actions and face their shame and guilt over what they did in the years of civil war. The Kenyans are joined by a young Englishman whose parents had lived in the country before independence. He comes seeking to learn about his father and discovers the scars of colonization.

I strongly recommend this book to all who appreciate fine writing as well as those seek to understand postcolonial disruption.

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