Dust | Granta

  • Published: 04/06/2015
  • ISBN: 9781783781317
  • 129x30mm
  • 384 pages


Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

Kenya, 2007. Odidi Oganda, running for his life, is gunned down in the streets of Nairobi. His sister, Ajany, and their father bring his body back home, to a crumbling colonial house in northern Kenya. But the peace they seek is hard to find: the murder has stirred deeply buried memories of colonial violence, of the killing-sprees of the Mau Mau uprising, and the shocking political assassination of Tom Mboya in 1969. When a young Englishman appears, searching for his missing father, another story, of love, or at least a connection, begins.

This is a spellbinding state of the nation novel about Kenya, showing how the violence of the past informs the violence and disorder of the present. Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor’s memorable characters; Ajany’s mother, deranged with grief and past violations, the Trader, embodying the timeless nomadic traders of Sudan, and Odidi himself, who transcended his past, came to success, and then a tragic end, are enchanting. Owuor reveals to us a new Kenya, a Kenya of bloodshed but also of modernity, suffused with a spirit world only half-remembered. This is a country where the characters listen so acutely for what is not said, and for the voices from the distant and recent past.

In this dazzling novel you will find the entirety of human experience - tearshed, bloodshed, lust, love - in staggering proportions

Taiye Selasi, author, Ghana Must Go

Epic in scope, this is a big, big unforgettable book, full of love and full of pain. Dust is a most visceral, moving novel about a family caught up in the smelt of a Kenya roiling inside the lusts and violences of its adolescence, determined to move past it. You will meet a mother with an AK-47 you will never forget, a father shamed by a secret, betrayed by a nation. The varied landscapes of Kenya have never been more tenderly made alive. This is the novel my twenty-first century has been waiting for, for our world in these seismic times

Binyavanga Wainaina, author, One Day I Will Write About This Place

This stunning debut novel grabs the reader's heart, refusing to let go... Owuor represents another shining talent among Africa's writers publishing in English

Library Journal (starred review)

The Author

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor was born in Kenya. Winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing, she has also received an Iowa Writer’s Fellowship. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s and other publications, and she has been a TEDx Nairobi speaker and a Lannan Foundation resident. She lives in Brisbane, Australia.

More about the author →

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor on Granta.com

Essays & Memoir | Granta 146

Distilling Existence: A Study with Wilson Amunga

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor & Bernd Hartung

‘If the river makes a sound now, it is a drawn-out moan.’ Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor on distilleries in Kenya, with photographs by Bernd Hartung.