The Read Around The World Book Club discussion

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June 2017 Kenya > Prologue up to including chapter 9

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message 1: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
So how do we feel being in Kenya? First impressions of writing style? Narrator's voice?


message 2: by Deirdre (new)

Deirdre Metcalf | 17 comments This month I am absolutely loving the book. It is heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time. I have already begun getting lost in the plot. The relationship between Ajany and Odidi is just perfection.
The writing style is very unique. It is choppy but also poetic. I have already begun tabbing some of my favorite passages. I descriptions and metaphors paint a beautiful picture.


message 3: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
The writing style really reminds me of Ondaatje (who I love) and Joyce (who I never managed to read) and at times I feel she is a bit more than just inspired by these great writers. The story does suck you in and the "confused" narrative reflects the turmoil of the people and the country. I guess it is easy to forget that before colonialism there was no such thing as "Kenya", Kenya is an invention of British administrators drawing random lines on a map and saying: This is henceforth a country. A country of very different people, tribes and cultures, also tribal lands cut in half due to borders. What a mess! The fact that Ajany's and Odidi's Dad is an arms dealer is just as commonplace as the fact that they are ready to defend their farm with weapons at a moments notice. Odidi's death: Had he become a gangster or a political activist? Or is it one and the same thing? Ajany: why was she waiting for the police to come and get her, has she killed her lover?
The language is partially wonderful to me but at times it irritates me, it feels that she is trying to hard whilst in some places it just comes naturally.


message 4: by Catherine (new)

Catherine  Pinkett Just started first few chapters and sorry guys I'm not particularly feeling it. put it down for a while


message 5: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Jayne Catherine pinkett wrote: "Just started first few chapters and sorry guys I'm not particularly feeling it. put it down for a while"
That's fair enough, it is not an easy read.


message 6: by Milena (last edited Jun 07, 2017 10:45AM) (new)

Milena Widdowson What a stunning writing style; as it is so poetic and rich it took me a little time to get used to- this isn't a quick read. Now I am totally lost in the landscape, the characters, the history of a country I know so little about.

I love the theme of belonging that weaves everything together, of finding something that feels real, feels true and rooted.

I think the issues raised so far are incredibly powerful and thought provoking. Some points spoke to me particularly: Odidi's thoughts as he dies, of leaving things too late,the consequences of not honouring what is emotionally important.The fickle nature of prejudice in children and how this transfers into adulthood all too easily. The escape into music, into art- into education. The potential darkness of fighting for what you believe at all costs, then realising that this belief was not as noble as you thought. The power of not speaking up for what your gut tells you is wrong for a greater good that doesn't in reality exist. The power of the dead over the living; how history will not be buried.

On a character level ,Ajany and her consuming loneliness really had an impact on me. The pure love she has for her brother was tragically beautiful.

I found the character of Akai-ma, this fierce, distant woman, very intriguing. Her distain bordering on hate of Ajany, or even worse her harsh indifference , has left me wanting to know more about her. Why is this woman as she is?

I think the story of Isaiah and his parents is a really clever way of introducing a different perspective,another layer, another way of seeing the world very different to the world of Ajany and her family.


message 7: by Tanya (new)

Tanya (thesamplergirl) Melanie wrote: "So how do we feel being in Kenya? First impressions of writing style? Narrator's voice?"

I'm having a hard time getting into this one but will try again before the month is out.


message 8: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Milena wrote: "What a stunning writing style; as it is so poetic and rich it took me a little time to get used to- this isn't a quick read. Now I am totally lost in the landscape, the characters, the history of a..."


Great insights, Milena, love all your thoughts.


message 9: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Tanya wrote: "Melanie wrote: "So how do we feel being in Kenya? First impressions of writing style? Narrator's voice?"

I'm having a hard time getting into this one but will try again before the month is out."


Fair enough


message 10: by Keriann (new)

Keriann (kad123) Had to DNF this book! The writing is far to portentous for me and has taken away from the story a bit! X


message 11: by Ilka (last edited Jun 27, 2017 01:18PM) (new)

Ilka | 31 comments I got a late start on this one, but am really loving it so far. I was apprehensive at first because of the writing style, the prologue was a little jarring, but the more I read the more natural it feels. As if this fragmented way of telling the story where you never know where it will jump next in time and place is the only way to tell the story of this fragmented country that tries to hide its past but can never quite escape it.
Ajany feels a lot like Aasha to me, even though she is an adult, she seems almost childish in some of her actions, especially when confronted with her mother. She's so lonely and seems to have no one she connects with now that her brother is gone. We seem to have a knack for picking books that focus on disfunctional families and parents that leave their children to find their way in the world on their own. It's interesting to me, how similar and yet totally different this book and Evening is the Whole Day are.
Excited to see how past and present will come to interact and if there's a connection between the parents' story and Odidi's death.


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