Of Goats and Poisoned Oranges

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OF GOATS AND POISONED ORANGESThe title of the book is enough to make me buy it. And I’m glad I did as it’s a great read. Ciku Kimera, who published her first novel herself, lives and works in Kenya as an international development consultant.

She’s well read and well travelled, loves exploring new cultures, speaks English, Kiswahili and German, and is currently learning French. It’s evident she loves people and is fascinated by human emotions as she tells the story of wealthy Wambui, who marries beneath her for love. But when her husband, Njogu, takes on a younger mistress, Nyambura, he has no idea what lengths Wambui will go to in order to punish the unfortunate girl.

Adulteress and marriage-wrecker she may be, but the the reader is invited to pity Nyambura. What is so clever about this story, the intricacies and intrigues of Kikuyu family life aside, is that it’s told through the minds and mouths of many different people – and none of them see things the same way. Indeed the reader learns that truth is dependent on the person telling the story. There’s little description to give the reader a sense of place, but it’s a book that leaves you thinking,.

The first line captures my attention immediately: “It really is a strange situation to find oneself in – that of attending your own funeral.” I read the book in a night – right to its thought-provoking ending.

Ciku is passionate about her writing. “If I don’t write for a while I feel miserable, unfulfilled, like time is passing me by,” she told me when she was mediator on a writer’s panel at the Storymoja Festival in 2014. “Sometimes I wish I could get a chance to write in isolation without people feeling you are cutting them out – it’s tough – you want to be immersed in the world with your friends and loved ones too, but sometimes you also just want to be completely alone to write – and our culture is one that sometimes assumes you must be going through something if you want to lock yourself in a room for days and write.”

Ciku hopes her Kenyan stories will reach beyond Kenya, that people anywhere in the world can relate to her characters, even if they don’t know much about Kenya.

For more about this writer visit: http://www.thekenyanexplorer.com


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