The Havoc of Choice

by Wanjiru Koinange

This is a ravishing story that tackles elitism and the problem of class in Kenya through multiple perspectives experiencing the Election period and the post-election violence of the 2008 Kenyan Election. It really allowed me to reflect on my own privileges. As the violence awakens at the closing of the year, the few people who are secured with immense police protection are those in the ‘safer areas’ of Nairobi. The promise of peace and security are only for those who can buy into it. It begins with a rather peaceful description of an Upper-middle class family going about their lives, with a house in the Nyari Estate, a couple of house-helps and a driver. As the story unfolds, we read into the lives of the parents from their years as university students, allowing us to see the struggles of adulthood, marriage and the pressures of gender stereotypes. We then follow the children as they tackle the world, witnessing the violence with naivety and hope for a better Kenya. Then, at the height of violence, and peak of emotion, Koinange delves deep into the lives of those who work for the family. Their lives are shaken up further each day, as the violence surges on. The emotive language and the intimacy of individual stories through the novel, make for personal connections with each character and a unique empathy that I have not experienced in many stories. With an over-arching story circled around pain and patrioty, the people are pieced together eloquently, as though moulding limbs onto a body. This book was the highlight of my year and would highly recommend.

Amy Migunda

Rating: 5 Recommend