Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and educated at Jomo Kenyatta University and the University of Reading. She received the 2003 Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story, “Weight of Whispers,” described by the BBC as a “subtle and suggestive work of fiction that dramatises the condition of refugees.” She has worked as a screenwriter and was the Executive Director of the Zanzibar International Film Festival from 2003 to 2005. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications worldwide including Kwani? and McSweeney’s, and her story “The Knife Grinder’s Tale” was made into a short film in 2005. She lives in Nairobi.
DUST is 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 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.
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