Dust ePUB Ú Hardcover

Dust Dust opens with a shimmering vibrance that throws open the doors of perception, indeed unscrews them from their jambs Odidi is running and remembering He remembers through objects the AK47 he throws away takes him back to a moment of transcendental communion through music and an occasion of buying a gift for his woman , whose name he cries out silently.He discards the gun, he calls out love, returns to love His gift is lingerie What does it mean for two men to bond over the intimate femini Dust opens with a shimmering vibrance that throws open the doors of perception, indeed unscrews them from their jambs Odidi is running and remembering He remembers through objects the AK47 he throws away takes him back to a moment of transcendental communion through music and an occasion of buying a gift for his woman , whose name he cries out silently.He discards the gun, he calls out love, returns to love His gift is lingerie What does it mean for two men to bond over the intimate feminine The suggested sexuality, the proprietary his woman , the fingerprints of the male gaze, are wrapped up, folded out of sight, by music, by this nostalgic encounterBut now he cries out love, and the music, inaudible, has spoken to me, I will heed this voice asking for its rhythm to be noticed, for this is a poem in disguise Why is this woman named Justina and not Justine I feel it must be so Odidi can cry it out trisyllabic fortissimo Justiiinaaa And find it mirrors his own name in the desperation Odiiidiii Break Break Break Odidi runs Not in the progressive tense that conveys the immediate present, the hourglass pinch of action, the tense we use on the telephone, the tense of excuse, the fixed plan I can t talk I m running, no I m washing my hair No Odidi runs in the tense of habit, the tense of timeless truth, the tense of a state maintained He is trapped in the poem he will always be running You can t live in the songs of people who don t know your name he remembers, like a brushstroke on his bare back for the carnography, the body story of Odidi is being painted Owuor is marking her artistry Odidi, frozen in a history, a painting, sees his life flash before his eyes to the soundtrack of Fela Kuti He remembers his little sister the way I remember my little brother there s no sentimentality by the way Owuor paints calmly, wreaking devastation in truth There s only time for a glimpse, a waft, a squeeze of hands, and the scene ends, rises out of sight, to cast its fluttering shadow over that sister, Ajany, whose story this is really.If this book is accurately described as a sustained poem of grief and anguish, its object is not only a loved person but surely a country, a hope, a generation of stolen people If you aren t aware of Kenya s history, this is not the place for 101, but the country s pain is braided into that of Ajany and her family, and the mysteries that unravel around them have deep and widely spread political roots that become exposed in all their ugliness as hidden stories are scraped to the surface One of these concerns a scam Odidi s company was involved in, narrated by his former colleague I reacted in horror with Odidi and Ajany and Owuor, but the punishment we all receive for it is a heavy blow, and the narrative has to work hard to balance that dose of despair later.Synthesising elements of raw history and mental de colonisation into a deeply personal story a struggle that claims and insists on its specificity in the mode of extremely poetic prose reminded me of Leslie Marmon Silko s book Ceremony The character of Galgalu, who often acts as a life saving suture in the Oganda family, personifies the novel s sensitivity to ritual, a vast, ponderous impulse towards healing that is nonetheless enacted or transacted through unceremonious gestures, such as Ajany giving Galgalu her necklace of amethyst Another writer I was reminded of was Moniza Alvi, whose poetry about trauma and recovery contains the same depth of empathy and employs similar truncated, injured rhythms to embody its hurt subjects.The front of my edition bears the comment Owuor s prose is a physical expression of the landscape it evokes , which rather awkwardly suggests the relationship between text and place, the arid homeland sketched in chopped, grainy sentences, but her prose successfully embodies noisy silences, speech that conceals, and most interestingly to me, bodies themselves and the auras of disdain, envy, desire and fear that billow, shift and eventually fade around them, particularly Justina, for reasons I don t want to spoil This delicate skill made me love the book , as did Owuor s rejection of the easy inconclusive ending another parallel with Ceremony the subject is too acute to be refused resolution by lack of authorial courage or love This left me breathless Holy Sh t 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 reign This left me breathless Holy Sh t 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 it Following 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 nation.The 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 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 Ni ger ian American who returns to Lagos And now we have an astonishing novel from Kenyan writer Yvonn 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 Ni ger ian American who returns to Lagos And now we have an astonishing novel from Kenyan writer Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor.Tantalizing 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 history.The 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 sequence of violent and comic moments that we won t fully comprehend forthan 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 story.Odidi 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 frequently jumps into the past as Odidi s coffin bakes in the sun.His sister, Ajany, serves as the story s moral core An artist who had moved to Brazil, Ajany returns to help bury her brother but immediately feels disoriented by the political chaos that seems so disconnected from her own devastation She has arrived on a day when distorted election results will set a bucolic country afire, Owuor writes The outside world is drenched with human noises of accusations and counteraccusations, election rigging, and the miracle of mathematical votes that multiply and divide themselves But within their world, in a self contained, haunted compound with its lone, misshapen grevillea tree, upon which a purple blue bird tweets, and where death prowls at half past three, Ajany bends forward to listen to and for her brother, Odidi, whose story words had created vessels that always carried her into safe border She s a bewitching character, hypersensitive to the colors and shapes around her but driven to distraction by her insatiable mourning When her mother abandons the house and her father starts scratching the ground, Ajany strikes out for Nairobi in a desperate effort to investigate her brother s murder Answers won t come easily As the narrator notes, Kenya s official languages are English, Kiswahili, and Silence Despite the beauty of Owuor s writing and the emotional intensity of her story, the stylistic and narrative challenges of Dust will be compounded, for Americans, by the relative obscurity of Kenya s political history This is an exposition free novel, and Owuor makes no concessions to any reader s ignorance about her country s violent upheavals in the 1950s, its transition from British rule in the early 1960s or its troubled election in 2007 Quick Who ran against incumbent president Mwai Kibaki These events and fictional developments predicated on them serve as the novel s complicated backstory about a national economy of secrets But, of course, for anyone interested, the relevant information is easy to come by And what s , Owuor has constructed a book that gradually teaches you how to read it Let the sensuous language of Dust wash over you with the assurance that its fragmentary scenes and allusive references will be visited again and gradually brought into clearer focus By the time beloved Odidi is finally laid to rest, so are several mysteries that his family has harbored for decades What endures Ajany asks again and again in this story of fathomless loss It s a plaintive question, answered implicitly by recurrent references to dust, the finely ground remnants of earth and spirit, stone and bone Ajany s father knows that the wound won t close till its existence is spoken aloud, but not one person dares to Here in this remarkable novel is a brave, healing voice.http www.washingtonpost.com enterta I think if I knewabout Kenya, I would ve give this an additional star, so take that as a failure of the reader, not the writer The novel seems to be jam packed with the country s history, people, landscape and even perhaps mythology, all of it starting with the murder of a young man and ending with a slow reveal of multiple secrets It is an absorbing immersion into the inner and outer lives of the characters and the country.As one example of how much I don t know, I thought the reference I think if I knewabout Kenya, I would ve give this an additional star, so take that as a failure of the reader, not the writer The novel seems to be jam packed with the country s history, people, landscape and even perhaps mythology, all of it starting with the murder of a young man and ending with a slow reveal of multiple secrets It is an absorbing immersion into the inner and outer lives of the characters and the country.As one example of how much I don t know, I thought the reference to a teacher killed while defending a colleague who was chopped to pieces in front of their students was perhaps created by the author When the man s name becomes important to one of the main characters, giving him a feeling of power as he resists swearing to the oath, I thought perhaps the name itself meant something I googled it and found that Aloys Kamau was a real man, that there s a book about him subtitled Teacher and Martyr by Giuseppe Mina, published by Paulines Publications Africa a Catholic press , and that is all that s online The question of what endures and one of the answers being the land reminded me of Faulkner The poetic style at times was reminiscent of Michael Ondaatje but ultimately it s its own, fitting the material, though the sometimes staccato style is not usually one of my favorites perhaps another reason for my lack of a fifth star.No real happiness exists for any of the characters, but there is bonding of former enemies, of family members, of lovers, of those who turn mythic With the theme of past violences tortures and mutilations, disappearances and erasures affecting the present 2006 , I was reminded of Marra s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena These authors have turned horrible themes into beautiful literature, but I d have given up the pleasure of reading these works for there being no need for them Lyrical poetic melancholic in short, ALL THE FEELS Dust is a poetic family saga entwined with Kenya s post colonial history and the ways in which covered up history has continued to shape our national identity What struck me the most was the use of beautiful language in the midst of so much ugliness Owuor narrated events that will fill you with disgust and disenchantment, but somehow it was also interspersed with passages that brought peace, understanding, closure and hope hope for Lyrical poetic melancholic in short, ALL THE FEELS Dust is a poetic family saga entwined with Kenya s post colonial history and the ways in which covered up history has continued to shape our national identity What struck me the most was the use of beautiful language in the midst of so much ugliness Owuor narrated events that will fill you with disgust and disenchantment, but somehow it was also interspersed with passages that brought peace, understanding, closure and hope hope for the characters and hope for the nation Dust is not for the timid lazy reader It s a blend of poetry and fragmented sentences told in present and past It certainly needs time and effort, but one that will richly reward you for sticking it out.Often when we think of African literature the first thing that comes to mind are the West African powerhouses And rightly so They are hands down master storytellers But this I feel Dust is right up to those standards, and dare I say higher A worthy edition to any bookshelf Thanks to Awuor Onguru for recommending this lovely, dense novel Author Adhiambo has one of the freshest new voices out there, weaving melancholy, history, and passion to examine a group of interconnected families during some of Kenya s most turbulent times.Nota Bene it took me a few pages to get used to Adhiambo s style Yet it so perfectly captures the mood of the story and its characters that now I cannot imagine this drama conveyed in any other way.The book also made me nostalgic for Kenya Thanks to Awuor Onguru for recommending this lovely, dense novel Author Adhiambo has one of the freshest new voices out there, weaving melancholy, history, and passion to examine a group of interconnected families during some of Kenya s most turbulent times.Nota Bene it took me a few pages to get used to Adhiambo s style Yet it so perfectly captures the mood of the story and its characters that now I cannot imagine this drama conveyed in any other way.The book also made me nostalgic for Kenya, a wonderful country where I had the honor to reside for a while Definitely recommended 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 leThis 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 Wheee And 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 haul.This 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 quite 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 quite 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 questions 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 part of the book was really enjoyable, the story flows well and layers are peeled away to reveal buried truths This is where Yvonne s skill as story teller really shines FYI some of the incidences described in the book such as the death of Eric Bower and Aloys Kamau really did happen At times though there is too much melodrama just when you are really getting into the story Everything builds up to a grand crescendo culminating in what feels like a final showdown at Wuoth Ogik When you get to the end, go back and read the prologue, it will all make sense The ending was bitter sweet but satisfying enough for me Sometimes it s easy to figure out where the title of a book came from With this one, there could be any number of answers For me the answer came from a line on page 351 1st edition, HardcoverBut then so many seasons after,when memory is dust, Ali came.But he could see nothing History lives in the memories of those who lived it Remembrances are fragile, they can easily be swept away, lost to the wind, just like dust Overall, a well written, masterfully crafted story, 3.7 stars This book was hard for me I did not really like the writing style in many places The NYTimes review said Only the reader who truly loves books books full to brimming with imagery will appreciate the magic Owuor has made of the classic nation at war novel With splintered lyricism, she tells the story of the Oganda familyOwuor s prose is a physical expression of the landscape it evokes raw, fragmented, dense, opaque Much of it was too splintered and opaque for me On the other hand, This book was hard for me I did not really like the writing style in many places The NYTimes review said Only the reader who truly loves books books full to brimming with imagery will appreciate the magic Owuor has made of the classic nation at war novel With splintered lyricism, she tells the story of the Oganda familyOwuor s prose is a physical expression of the landscape it evokes raw, fragmented, dense, opaque Much of it was too splintered and opaque for me On the other hand, where it veered into atraditional narrative, I liked it I stuck it out because I was trying to stay out of my comfort zone and read something new, and I m glad I finished it The second half wasnarrative From a breathtaking new voice, a novel about a splintered family in Kenya a story of power and deceit, unrequited 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 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 contemporary Kenya back through a shocking political assassination inand the Mau Mau uprisings against British colonial rule in the s, 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 forever Sometimes you open a book and you know immediately whether the writing will grab you and the first sentences promise that the story will carry you to the last That was the case for me when I openedDust , Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor s outstanding debut novel In it Owuor weaves a rich and colourful tapestry of a land, its people and its recent history The novel is as much a portrait of one family and its members struggles and challenges, as it is the story of the land and the country, Kenya, fro Sometimes you open a book and you know immediately whether the writing will grab you and the first sentences promise that the story will carry you to the last That was the case for me when I openedDust , Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor s outstanding debut novel In it Owuor weaves a rich and colourful tapestry of a land, its people and its recent history The novel is as much a portrait of one family and its members struggles and challenges, as it is the story of the land and the country, Kenya, from the pre independence conflicts to recent disturbances and efforts at reconciliation Her protagonists live with and surrounded by stories past and present, dormant, repressed or censored, but not forgotten and slowly revealed one at a time Kenya is just a story At the most elemental level, as we learn quickly, this is a story of love and loss, of loyalty and betrayal, of bribes and coercion or even murder Friends can turn into enemies enemies can become friends or something close to it revelations of old secrets can lead to healing of long festering wounds and, possibly, to redemption and hope The novel s Prologue opens with a dramatic event a young man, Odidi Oganda, is on the run for his life, chased through the backstreets and alleyways of Nairobi His mind clings to thoughts of his beloved sister, Ajany, and a sense of urgency for him to return home pushes him forward Yet, bullets keep flying unrelentingly Eventually, he collapses in the middle of the road and dies with his head cradled in the lap of a stranger too late for him to save the young man s life I marveled over the Prologue s language It is breathtaking in its speed, yet also poetic, capturing the chase with short or incomplete sentences that convey the high level of tension and drama of the moment Odidi is brought home by his father, Nyipir and his sister who, who at the urgent by her father, had returned from Brazil Nyipir is flying home with his children.Yet he is alone.Memories are solitary ghosts.He lets them in, traveling with them Home is in northern Kenya, a vast and remote region of the country The landscape and in it the family s home are also characters in their own right The house, built by a white settler during pre independence, is slowly disintegrating the walls are crumbling, mirroring the stages in the fragmentation of the family and break up of the human connections that kept them together Nyipir is a trader in cattle and other goods across the northern border His absences force his wife to be in control and fight her own challenges and nurse her secrets She is aloof at best, cold and uninterested in her daughter, suffering greatly when her son leaves for study and city life Akai ma disappears when her son is brought home At about the same time a stranger, who had been invited by Odidi to visit, asks uncomfortable questions What are the connections Slowly, much of it told in flashbacks, we learn how to piece together the puzzle of the family members backgrounds and some of the traumas they experienced It makes for absorbing and deeply affecting reading It is not too far fetched to see in the family portrait a reflection and illustration of what many others went through during the tumultuous and sometimes violent periods of Kenya s recent history The solitary ghosts of those past memories, many held deep inside, travel with the individuals and rob them of inner peace But then came fear It split words into smaller and smaller fragments until words became secret, suffocating and silent Or, at another point in the narrative, the devastating recognition Kenya s official languages English, Kiswahili, and Silence Owuor confronts her characters, and the reader, with the recurring question What endures Different answers at different times wind through the novel like a leitmotiv They each circle back to the fundamental premise that memories are ghosts and that to name something is to bring it to life with the realization that the revelation can have unforeseen consequences Throughout the novel Owuor touches on pivotal political events such as the ethnic strife during the 2007 election or, crucial for Nyipir s plight, the assassination of Thomas Mboya, a leading politician during the early days of Kenyan independence However, her narrative always remains on the personal level and within the concrete story of the Oganda family and a few important connected characters, mysterious in their own right DUST is an extraordinary achievement of a novel, evenso as a debut novel The promise for a great read that I felt when reading the Prologue was greatly surpassed during my reading this captivating and thought provoking story, exquisitely told Friederike Knabe

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