My #BookReview of Forbidden Fruit by @stangazemba A descriptive flavour of #Africa

Forbidden FruitForbidden Fruit by Stanley Gazemba
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Forbidden Fruit is a story written about peasant farmers and their families who live in a small village in western Kenya.

Ombima and his family live in a thatched hut in a compound where they grow a few crops and vegetables. To supplement their income they also work for Andimi, a rich tea farmer and businessman.

It is Andimi’s luscious garden which tempts Ombimi into stealing one evening, against his better nature. Alas, his actions lead him down a slippery path.

This book is filled with vivid descriptions of everyday life for the villagers, from daily chores, to medical emergencies, a funeral wake and the Christmas celebrations. The dialogue is challenging for western reading ears, with its mix of local words and mannerisms, but readers will get used to it as they continue with the book.

Certainly one to read if you are interested in everyday African life; the plot unravels slowly, and is not the star of the show, but if you’re after a descriptive flavour of Africa, then give this a try.

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Book Description

Fiction. African and African American Studies. Winner of the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature. 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.

About the author

Stanley Gazemba

Stanley Gazemba is an award-winning author and his breakthrough novel, ‘The Stone Hills of Maragoli’, published by Kwani? won the Jomo Kenyatta prize for Kenyan Literature in 2003. He is also the author of two other novels: ‘Callused Hands’ and ‘Khama’, he has written eight children’s books. A prolific writer, Stanley’s articles and stories have appeared in several international publications including the New York Times, ‘A’ is for Ancestors, the Caine Prize Anthology and the East African magazine. Stanley lives in Nairobi and his short story ‘Talking Money’ was recently published in ‘Africa 39’, a Hay Festival publication which was released in 2014. Published by Bloomsbury Publishing Inc, ‘Africa 39’ features a collection of 39 short stories by some of Africa’s leading contemporary authors. Stanley is also in the process of working on an array of creative literary projects.

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