Tuesday, 5 March 2019

#WorldReads - Five Books From Kenya

If this is your first visit to my WorldReads blog series, the idea of the posts is to encourage and promote the reading of global literature. On the 5th of each month I highlight five books I have read from a particular country and you can see links to previous countries' posts at the end of this post as well as finding out how to join in the challenge.

Click the book titles or cover images to visit their Literary Flits book review pages.

This month we are going to Kenya!

Forbidden Fruit by Stanley Gazemba

Desperate to make ends meet, Ombima commits a "harmless" crime. When he tries to conceal his misdeed, the simple farm laborer becomes a reluctant participant in a sinister affair. If discovered, the consequences could be disastrous for Ombima's family, friends, and a spate of unwitting, gossipy villagers. A delicious tale of greed, lust, and betrayal, Stanley Gazemba's FORBIDDEN FRUIT is more than a dramatic tale of rural life in western Kenya. The moral slips and desperate cover-ups — sometimes sad, sometimes farcical — are the stories of time and place beyond the village of Maragoli.

Full Circle by Regina Timothy

Eight years after the 9/11 attacks, Samia-Al-Sayyid an Iraqi immigrant is living a quiet life in New York City after she fled her home to avoid imminent death.
She works hard for her cold, heartless, high-strung boss, loves her seventeen-year-old-son, and cherishes the close friendship she has formed with her best friend Susan.
Nothing can go wrong, or so she thinks – until the estranged brother she left back in Iraq shows up on her door step. Then she finds herself in a cab, on her way to the hospital to identify her son, a terror suspect who has blown the city, and with it her boss’ husband, and her best friend’s son. With everything lost, she is forced to flee to Iraq where she confronts her past. Will she make peace with her past? Can she get forgiveness for all the damage she has caused?
Full Circle is a contemporary fiction tale of friendship, family, and hope. It explores the devastation of loss, the great capacity to forgive and the lengths our loved ones will go to protect us.

Unexpected America by Wanjiru Warama

Ms. Warama leaves Kenya in a huff and heads to the United States where she doesn't know a soul. From the first day, she realizes she has to learn to live all over again in a new culture she knows nothing about. Loneliness debilitates her until she meets "Mr. Savior" who becomes not only her savior but her lover and abuser. Money runs out and she has to housekeep and babysit to buy a ticket back home. She keeps her tribulations hidden from her family and friends as the idealized American lifestyle turns into a mirage, which Warama plods along like one tethered, hoping her persistence pays off.

The Forgotten Pioneer by Anthea Ramsay

"My grandfather was one of the first white men to set foot in Kenya when it was a newly discovered, barren and dangerous place. Neither he or his family ever imagined that he would fall under the spell of Africa and remain there for the rest of his life…"
Anthea Ramsay was inspired to write her grandparents' story after being left their diaries, photographs and letters which described the terrible dangers and hardships they endured in East Africa in the early 1900s. The Forgotten Pioneer records their experiences as early pioneers, followed by the lives of their children, Anthea's parents, and the life of the author herself. 
There is never a dull moment in Anthea's family history, from one generation to the next. She describes the difficulty of her grandparents' experiences through a time when there were no hospitals or medicines and illnesses such as black water fever and typhoid were rife, her parents' decadent lives on the edge of the Happy Valley set and their connections with the murder of Lord Erroll, and finally her own experiences growing up in Africa and living in the shadow of the Mau Mau rebellion. 
The Forgotten Pioneer takes the reader on an enchanting journey, tracing the family through four generations. From her grandfather leaving his home in Kent to live in a tent and face many close encounters with man-eating lions and hostile African tribes with poisoned arrows, to her eldest daughter returning to Kenya to live and farm with her family, it seems each generation has been equally captivated by this magical place. 

Black Holes by Ochi

In this riveting and revolutionary anthology of poems , Ochi offers his personal reflections on a wide array of subjects ranging from globalization and self-awareness to the nature of good and evil in modern societies. Through indelible sonnets and proses, the importance of introspection, moral reasoning and of questioning authority and societal norms to enhance personal growth is revealed to the reader. Black Holes, a lyrical journey through emotions experienced in human life, breaks all barriers of individualism to voice the pain of the unfortunate, it also glorifies the beauty of unconditional love; the language simplicity conveys its message to people from all walks of life.

That's it for March's WorldReads from Kenya. I hope I have tempted you to try reading a book from this country and if you want more suggestions, click through to see all my Literary Flits reviews of Kenyan-authored books! If you fancy buying any of the five I have suggested, clicking through the links from this blog to do so would mean I earn a small commission payment.

You can join in my WorldReads Challenge at any time! Simply read 1 or more books from a different country each month, write a post about it/them, grab the button below and add it to your post. Don't forget to pop back here and Comment your link so I can visit!

Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

If you missed any earlier WorldReads posts, I have already 'visited'

Africa: Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe

Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Jamaica, United States of America,

Asia: India, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Turkey

Australasia: Australia, New Zealand,

Europe: Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,

In April I will be highlighting five books by Colombian authors. See you on the 5th to find out which ones!


  1. Ooh, I like the sound of The Forgotten Pioneer. The cover is great, too. I’m not sure if I’ve read any books from Kenya. I know I’ve read a lot of Nigerian stories, but I’ve neglected the rest of Africa.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. I've found it's much easier to get hold of Nigerian-authored books than seemingly any other African country. I'm not sure why?

  2. They all sound interesting and I am loving the covers.

  3. Full Circle and Unexpected America sound like intense, emotional reads. Nice feature, Stephanie! :)

    1. It was interesting to read such different viewpoints in those memoirs

  4. As I'm generally interested in Kenya I love all the books you recommend here. Now I want especially to read "Unexpected America". Thanks a lot for sharing!
    xx Rena

    1. Unexpected America is fun because Wanjiru often has such an attitude!

  5. I think next month I'm off to Antarctica! I've read a few set there this month as winter brings out the urge to read books with cold settings!

    1. I tend to choose books to match the seasons too :-)