Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
Terry has been reading Forbidden Fruit by Stanley Gazemba
FORBIDDEN FRUIT by Stanley Gazemba
4 out of 5 stars
Forbidden Fruit is a novel about life in a Kenyan village, about the vagaries of human nature, but I felt it was more an illustration of the life and times of the people; the plot comes second. The ‘forbidden fruit’ of the title refers not only to an illicit affair, but other aspects of the story.
The main character is impoverished villager Ombima, who, at the beginning of the novel, is stealing food from the farms owned by his employers, simply because his family do not have enough. I found the differences between the poor and the wealthy starkly delineated; this interested me and was very well done. The descriptions of the rural life were quite an education, and even though, by Western standards, the lives of the villagers is harsh, I felt that they were no badly off than we are. Certainly there was much joy to be found.
I found the dialogue a little strange at times; I don’t know if it was translated from another language or if the author’s first language is not English; there is no author profile on Amazon for me to see. But it was a mixture of Americanisms and some curious choices of words; I don’t know how Kenyans talk so I can’t say whether or not it is authentic.
If you are interested in every day life in rural Africa I am sure you will love this book; every aspect of life is explored in great detail.
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 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.